New grant program offers big money for transformational change in Appalachian Ohio

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ATHENS, Ohio (WOUB) — Half a billion dollars has a way of getting people’s attention.

Representatives from local governments, nonprofit groups and other community organizations packed a large room for a recent presentation in Athens on how to get some of this money.

The funds are being distributed through the Appalachian Community Grant Program. The state created the program with $500 million in federal Covid relief funds.

“It’s hugely exciting,” said Nick Tepe, director of the Athens County public library system. “This is a historic amount of funding that’s being put into the Appalachian counties in Ohio.”

Tepe attended the recent information session in Athens hosted by Buckeye Hills Regional Council, which is helping communities navigate this historic opportunity in the eight counties it serves in southeast Ohio.

As big as the new grant program is, it certainly won’t solve all the challenges facing the Appalachian region.

“But this is a fantastic start,” Tepe said. “And I have no doubt that it is going to make a huge difference for this whole region.”


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