ST. CLAIRSVILLE, Ohio (WTRF) – In a pre-election visit, Governor Mike DeWine shook hands and patted shoulders as he met with fellow Republicans gathered at Newellstown Diner.

7News asked him about the status of the $500 million in federal funding to be spent in 32 Appalachian counties in Ohio.

He said that project has two phases; coming up with ideas and then carrying them out.

The Governor explained that communities are in the thinking phase right now.

We’re starting to see people look at their downtown and I think in a different way. Look at their downtown and say, ‘hey, we want this once again to be the center of the community’. It needs to be a place where people come, needs to be a place where people can gather and people are already starting to move that direction.

Governor Mike DeWine, (R) Ohio

One person asked if the money could be used to help build a new community fire department.

Another asked if it could help provide health care for children with no dental coverage.

DeWine said that’s the kind of thinking that’s needed for the first part of the Appalachian project, coming up with ideas.

He said he’s also trying the get the state legislature to un-cap the historic tax credit funds so there is no limit, which he said would benefit cities like St. Clairsville.