WASHINGTON, D.C. – Mineral County has been awarded a $50,000 grant for the expansion of broadband service to the Fort Ashby Business Park.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Mineral County has been awarded a $50,000 grant for the expansion of broadband service to the Fort Ashby Business Park.
U.S. Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), members of the Senate Appropriations Committee, announced the grant Monday, along with a total of $301,811 from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for rural economic development projects in the state.
Mineral County’s project, under the direction of the Mineral County Development Authority,  will provide high-speed internet access to commercial businesses located in the park near Fort Ashby. The project is also expected to assist local officials in attracting new businesses to the area that could potentially result in the creation of an estimated forty-five indirect jobs.
“I’m excited to see this investment in economic development projects throughout the state from the Department of Agriculture,” Senator Manchin said.
“From training programs for formerly incarcerated citizens and Veterans, to agriculture business development and expanding broadband coverage, these projects will have a direct impact on our West Virginia communities. I will continue advocating for this kind of investments as a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee.”
“West Virginia’s small businesses are the backbone of our state’s economy,” Senator Capito said.
“Entrepreneurs and small business owners take risks to create opportunity in their communities and help grow new industries in West Virginia. The USDA is a critical partner for these men and women, and this funding will help them succeed while also fostering the next generation of business owners.”
The remaining awards include:
·         $22,500 – Eastern West Virginia Regional Airport in Martinsburg: This Rural Development investment will be used to complete an economic impact study for the Eastern West Virginia Regional Airport located in Martinsburg. The purpose of the study is to assess the economic value that the airport has on the local and regional economy of the eastern panhandle and surrounding area.
·         $29,796 – Innovative Community Solutions, Inc. in Martinsburg: This Rural Development investment will be used to continue an entrepreneurship and business leadership training program in Berkeley County.
The program will serve formerly incarcerated individuals and veterans. Grant funds will be used to cover costs associated with personnel involved in delivering the training, equipment and supplies to be purchased. It is anticipated that this project will create 22 jobs for this region.
·         $50,000 – Greenbrier County Health Alliance in Lewisburg: This Rural Development investment will be used for the development of the Local Foods Skill Center and Waste Not Produce Market in Lewisburg.
Funds from this grant award will be used to support personnel costs, supplies and contractual expenses. The project is expected to assist a minimum of three businesses/farmers and create sixteen jobs in this region. The Greenbrier County Health Alliance began as a community engagement strategy that originated from the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine, Center for Rural and Community Health
·         $50,000 – West Virginia National Guard Foundation in Charleston: This Rural Development investment will be used to provide education and technical support to rural businesses. The training will include both on-farm and off-farm agriculture and agriculture business development through the creation of educational curriculum that would assist participants in all aspects of new business startup and management. This project is expected to assist fifteen veteran farmers/ businesses and create five jobs.
·         $49,515 – Canaan Valley Institute in Talcott: This Rural Development investment will be used to develop a hydroponics system to train entrepreneurs and farmers in nontraditional growing methods known as hydroponics.
The project will include training and contractual costs to install the hydroponics system, including equipment and costs to retrofit an existing structure for the hydroponics system. This project is expected to create three jobs for this region.
·         $50,000 – Solar Energy Solutions in Parkersburg: This Rural Development investment will be used for the purchase and installation of a 133,894 kW solar array on the Williamstown High School. This project will replace 149,660 kWh (21 percent) per year and realize $12,224 of saving per year.
The purpose of this funding program is to assist farmers, ranchers, and rural small businesses in developing renewable energy systems, and in making energy efficiency improvements to their operations.