$500 million investment proposal announced for Ohio’s Appalachian counties

Governor Mike DeWine says communities would get to choose how to spend their portion of the money.
Published: Apr. 28, 2022 at 7:33 PM EDT
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PORTSMOUTH, Ohio (WSAZ) – A sizable chunk of money could be coming to southeastern Ohio.

A proposal would split half a billion dollars in federal money among Ohio’s Appalachian counties, where Gov. Mike DeWine made multiple stops Thursday to discuss the announcement.

Among those stops was the Scioto County Welcome Center in Portsmouth. The governor said 32 Appalachian counties would benefit from the $500 million investment.

DeWine said this will support local initiatives to revitalize downtowns, enhance quality of life, and help rebuild these counties’ economies.

The proposal includes a $50 million planning phase to allow communities to come up with their own plans on how to use the money. The remaining $450 million would go toward carrying out those plans.

“We really believe the local community knows best,” DeWine said. “This should not be something Columbus, Ohio decides.”

Each county in Ohio in our viewing area falls under this. DeWine said the money could go toward such areas as broadband, education and workforce development, addressing substance abuse disorders, and tourism.

“Everybody is going to have to come up with their own program, because we really believe the local community knows best,” DeWine said. “Local communities need to come together on these different plans, and every community is different.”

The governor said the $500 million proposal will have to be approved by the state Legislature.

DeWine is up for re-election, and the Ohio primary is next week, but he said Thursday the timing of this announcement is not related.

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