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Seven Appalachian Towns Selected to Receive ARC and EPA Technical Assistance to Enhance Community Quality of Life

June 2012


WASHINGTON, June 5, 2012—Seven towns in the 13-state Appalachian Region have been selected to receive federal technical assistance to address local development challenges through the Livable Communities program. Funded by the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) with support from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development (USDA RD), the Livable Communities technical assistance will help Appalachian small towns and rural communities improve their livability by promoting economic development while safeguarding the local landscape.

The selected towns are Connellsville, Pennsylvania; Brownsville, Pennsylvania; Uhrichsville, Ohio; Independence, Virginia; Spruce Pine, North Carolina; Williamson, West Virginia; and Salamanca, New York.

ARC Federal Co-Chair Earl F. Gohl said the technical assistance program shows "how government agencies can come together and work with local communities to improve the quality of life for Appalachian families. Working together, we can achieve far more ambitious goals than we could working alone."

EPA Chief Agricultural Counselor Larry Elworth noted, "Through this collaboration with the Appalachian Regional Commission and the USDA, EPA is working to help Appalachian communities grow in ways that support their economies and protect the environment."

The specific goals of the Livable Communities technical assistance program are to:

  • Promote rural prosperity by creating an economic climate that enhances the viability of working lands, preserves natural resources, and increases economic opportunities for all residents;
  • Support thriving and distinctive rural communities by investing in rural town centers, Main Streets, and existing infrastructure to create places that are healthy, safe, and walkable;
  • Expand transportation choices by creating communities where everyone—including elderly, disabled, and low-income residents—can conveniently, affordably, and safely access local and regional goods and services;
  • Expand affordable housing opportunities.
The seven towns were selected to receive technical assistance on the basis of:
  • Support from local leaders and citizens for working toward a strong, livable community;
  • Potential for the community to receive public and private investments to pursue identified strategies;
  • Indications of consultation and coordination with USDA RD, the local development district, or other federal agencies able to collaborate with ARC and assist with identified projects;
  • The extent of social and economic needs of the Appalachian community as measured by per capita market income, poverty rate, and unemployment rate.