Ohio Governor Mike DeWine was in Belmont County to make a ‘big announcement.’

The ‘big announcement’ was that Ohio has $500 million federal dollars to spend on 32 Ohio Appalachian counties. Gov. DeWine announced 50 Million of the monies will be used for the communities to help build a plan on how to use the money.

The $500 million proposal, dubbed “Ohio BUILDS – Small Communities, Big Impact – A Plan for Appalachia would infuse funding into the proposal’s three priority areas of restoring historic downtowns, improving community health, and rebuilding the local workforce.

Following the planning, $450 million in implementation grants would be invested to help communities and regional groups carry out qualifying projects to rejuvenate the region and stimulate economic growth.

Gov. DeWine said that the money can be spent on

  • Main street/ downtown redevelopment
  • Trails, State Parks, Outdoor space, arts and culture
  • Broadbroad
  • Education and workforce development
  • School community-based services
  • Substance use disorder

The Governor said that the $500 M is not secure at this time. It would have to be passed by the state legislature.

The proposed money would also not be decided by Gov. Dewine or the state legislature but by the local community.

Ohio’s 32 contiguous Appalachian counties are: Adams, Ashtabula, Athens, Belmont, Brown, Carroll, Clermont, Columbiana, Coshocton, Gallia, Guernsey, Harrison, Highland, Hocking, Holmes, Jackson, Jefferson, Lawrence, Mahoning, Meigs, Monroe, Morgan, Muskingum, Noble, Perry, Pike, Ross, Scioto, Trumbull, Tuscarawas, Vinton, and Washington.