|Program||# of Grants||EDA Funds|
|Assistance To Coal Communities||2||$1,628,681|
|Regional Innovation Strategies||2||$748,282|
In February 2010, unemployment in the Appalachian region of Ohio reached a high of 10.6 percent. The City of Belpre, located within that region, has since begun recovering. While unemployment has gone down, it is still above the national average. One obstacle that Belpre faces in tackling unemployment is its ability to retain and sustain jobs in the area, partially due to wastewater infrastructure that cannot adequately support business growth in the region.
In September 2016, EDA invested $1.5 million in Assistance to Coal Communities funds to the City of Belpre to support the extension of wastewater services in the Blue Knob Road area. The project totals $3 million, with the EDA grant helping to fund the construction and improvements to wastewater collection and conveyance infrastructure to extend wastewater service north to businesses located along State Route 7. These improvements are needed to support the creation of jobs and leverage private investment related to the region’s industrial corridor.
The project will provide services to larger employers and businesses located in the non-municipal area between Belpre and Marietta, Ohio. As a result of this extension, six businesses will remain in the region with their 255 jobs, 21 new jobs will be created, and over $3 million of new private sector investment is estimated to be attracted. Providing these infrastructure improvements will also create significant additional growth opportunities, opening up over 400 acres in this industrial corridor to encourage and accommodate future expansions and development.