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Sens. Kaine and Warner Announce $1.2 Million Federal Economic Development Grant For The Highland Center

Supports business incubator, resource center in Highland & Bath counties

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Sens. Tim Kaine (D-VA) and  Mark R. Warner (D-VA) today announced that the Highland Center in Monterey has been awarded a $1.2 million federal grant from the U.S. Commerce Department’s Economic Development Administration to support the development of a business incubator and resource center in a landmark former school building. When completed, the project is expected to leverage up to $100,000 in additional private investment and create at least 27 local jobs.

The historic building will be converted into a space for businesses, residents, and visitors, housing a business incubator, a business resource center, as well as two incubator kitchens to serve food-based businesses in Highland and Bath counties.   

“This is a great example of how rural communities can actively work together to address their economic and community needs,” said Sen. Warner, who sent a letter to the Commerce Department in support of the grant in December 2012.  “I am a big fan of the Highland Center project because it does such a good job leveraging the community’s strengths in agriculture, the arts, and heritage-based tourism.”          

“The Highland Center is a critical resource for small businesses and community members in Highland and Bath counties,” said Sen. Kaine. “This investment will drive economic development in the region by creating 27 new jobs and allowing additional entrepreneurs and local businesses to benefit from business counseling, affordable rental space, and equipment provided by the Highland Center.”

“This grant is a vote of confidence not just in The Highland Center but in the entire Alleghany Highlands region,” said Betty Mitchell, Highland Center executive director. “For over a decade we have worked across state and county lines to support farmers, encourage entrepreneurship and build economic renewal in ways that work for our rural area.  We are excited to embark on The Highland Center renovation and are proud to have the EDA as investors in this project.”

“I want to thank our private donors and the local community for their strong support,” said Highland Center Board Chair Lloyd C. Bird, II. “Those donations were a key component  leveraging the EDA’s investment.”