Skip to main content

Governor DeWine announces transformative $154M investment in Appalachian downtowns and destinations; Highland County to receive $12.6M

Ohio Governor's Office, Press Release

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, Lt. Governor Jon Husted and Ohio Department of Development Director Lydia Mihalik Wednesday announced 30 major economic development projects in Ohio's Appalachian region that will raise the area's profile as a travel destination and improve quality of life for local residents.

As part of the new Appalachian Downtowns and Destinations Initiative, $154 million will be infused into communities across 12 counties to revitalize historic downtown districts, create new opportunities for recreation and amplify the experience for those visiting the region's cultural sites.

"Our state's origins are in Appalachia; it's where our history began. But right now — this is Appalachia's time to flourish," said Governor DeWine. "These unprecedented investments in Appalachia will be transformative for those who live here, turning their visions for the future into reality."

The $154 million will be used to improve infrastructure at parks, trails and museums; support enhancements to historical native landmarks; renovate downtown spaces and main streets; and create new hubs for education, economic development, health care and community engagement in areas where these opportunities have not previously existed.

“These investments aim to enhance growth and quality of life in Ohio's Appalachian communities,” said Lt. Governor Husted. “We hope to highlight the region's amazing offerings and develop new sites that benefit residents and attract visitors for years to come."

Highland County is slated to receive $12,630,331 for the following projects:

Village of Greenfield Felson Park Improvements 
Award Amount: $5,371,410 
The Village of Greenfield intends to make several improvements to Felson Park. Together, they will create a reimagined space on a regional bikeway along Paint Creek and house a venue for Greenfield’s cultural events and festivals, arts and civic gatherings. The park will also serve as a trailhead for bikeway activity, serving riders using the Tri-County Triangle Trail. Felson Park’s livery access to Paint Creek will create a canoe and kayak blue-way trail extending to Paint Creek Lake, where camping and outdoor recreation can be accessed and create the opportunity for multi-activity trips.

Crossroads Park, City of Hillsboro
Award Amount: $5,204,536 
The city will create a new “central” park in downtown Hillsboro. This includes an outdoor gathering space, amphitheater, farmers market, playground and beautification of the surrounding streetscape. The amphitheater will feature a stage and restroom facilities. The city also intends to open a new outdoor area, Crossroads Park, for the community to use.  

Village of Leesburg Downtown Park 
Award Amount: $1,052,995 
Leesburg will transform a defunct park into a vibrant, usable space for the community. The project includes new amenities such as a footbridge, playground area, lighting, and restrooms. Walking paths around the park will also be installed to give residents access to low-cost outdoor recreation and the various amenities of the park. 

Village of Lynchburg Downtown Park 
Award Amount: $1,001,390 
The Village of Lynchburg will revitalize its downtown park with new amenities focused on empowering residents to maintain healthy lifestyles. Installation of a shelter house will create access to fresh produce by housing a regularly occurring farmer’s market in a village without a local grocery store. Additional park improvements include a walking trail, pedestrian bridge, play area, ADA parking and community-use raised garden beds. 

Among the historical sites that will undergo enhancements include the historic Monroe Theater in Woodsfield, the Black Horse Inn Underground Railroad Museum in Morristown, the Serpent Mound in Adams County and Ross County's four Hopewell Ceremonial Earthworks sites, which are included in Ohio's first UNESCO World Heritage listing.

Logan, Georgetown, Jackson and Chauncey are among the communities whose downtown districts will be revitalized.

A complete list can be viewed at:….

"These are defining investments that will reenergize Ohio's Appalachian communities for generations to come," said Director Mihalik. "We are creating spaces that honor our heritage and foster connection, creativity, and community pride among everyone who lives in and visits this region."

Funding for the Appalachian Downtowns and Destinations Initiative is being awarded through the larger Appalachian Community Grant Program, which is investing $500 million into Ohio's 32-county Appalachian region. The DeWine-Husted Administration spearheaded this unprecedented investment with support from the Ohio General Assembly in 2022.

Previously announced grant awards include $64 million to improve access to healthcare across the region through the new Appalachian Children’s Health Initiative and approximately $80 million for several  shovel-ready projects and planning grants.

Nearly $200 million in remaining Appalachian Community Grant Program funding will be announced in coming weeks. The program is administered by the Governor's Office of Appalachia within the Ohio Department of Development.  In total, the DeWine-Husted Administration has invested approximately $2 billion in Ohio's Appalachian counties since 2019.

Publisher's note: A free press is critical to having well-informed voters and citizens. While some news organizations opt for paid websites or costly paywalls, The Highland County Press has maintained a free newspaper and website for the last 25 years for our community. If you would like to contribute to this service, it would be greatly appreciated. Donations may be made to: The Highland County Press, P.O. Box 849, Hillsboro, Ohio 45133. Please include "for website" on the memo line.

Add new comment

This is not for publication.
This is not for publication.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically.
Article comments are not posted immediately to the Web site. Each submission must be approved by the Web site editor, who may edit content for appropriateness. There may be a delay of 24-48 hours for any submission while the web site editor reviews and approves it. Note: All information on this form is required. Your telephone number and email address is for our use only, and will not be attached to your comment.