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ARC Grant Competition to Enhance Appalachia’s Gateways to the Blue Ridge Parkway

May 2009


WASHINGTON, May 19, 2009—The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) has announced a new grant competition as part of its Gems of Appalachia Initiative to enhance Appalachia's gateways to the Blue Ridge Parkway. A total of $150,000 will be awarded for projects in gateway communities in North Carolina and Virginia to promote sustainable tourism while protecting the natural beauty and cultural heritage of the 469-mile roadway.

This announcement comes as communities prepare to celebrate the 75th anniversary (in 2010) of the Blue Ridge Parkway, considered to be one of Appalachia's most cherished treasures.

Nonprofit organizations, local governments, public education institutions, and local and regional development organizations located in counties adjacent to the parkway are eligible to apply for the grants. Grant requests can range from $15,000 to $30,000. Applications that involve partnerships of organizations from two or more counties can request up to $40,000.

Applicants can request funding to implement a specific project or activity related to natural or cultural heritage tourism, community planning, asset building, recreational development, or other activities that will enhance their communities' unique identity as a gateway to the Blue Ridge Parkway. Grantees will be required to provide cash or in-kind matching funds of 20 percent of the total project cost. Activities supported by the grants are expected to be completed within 18 months of the award date. Proposed activities should result in the creation of new jobs and an increase in the number of new visitors to the gateway communities.

Eligible counties in North Carolina include: Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Buncombe, Burke, Caldwell, Haywood, Henderson, Jackson, McDowell, Mitchell, Surry, Swain, Transylvania, Watauga, Wilkes, and Yancey.

Eligible counties in Virginia include: Botetourt, Carroll (and the city of Galax), Floyd, Grayson, Patrick, and Rockbridge (and the cities of Buena Vista and Lexington).

The deadline for project proposals is June 26, 2009.