Coalfield communities in West Virginia and around the country received millions of dollars on Wednesday, as part of the second round of grants under President Barack Obama’s POWER Initiative.
The program is designed to help communities that are hard-hit by the decline of the coal industry. In August, West Virginia programs and communities received more than $16 million as part of the first round of grants — nearly 40 percent of the money given out.
This time around, West Virginia projects got more than $5.6 million, of nearly $28 million distributed.
The grants are administered by the Appalachian Regional Commission and the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration.
The largest West Virginia grant was $2.04 million to the city of Bluefield for the Bluefield Commercialization Station project. The project will turn a 50,000-square-foot freight station into a business incubator, and will “support the creation and retention of 72 jobs, expand at least 12 local businesses, and leverage $510,000 in private investment,” according to a White House fact sheet. The Shott Foundation of Bluefield is also contributing to the project.
The Marshall University Research Corporation received more than $1.5 million for the Sprouting Farms project, which aims to help develop agriculture in nine Southern West Virginia counties…