USDA Grant Infuses Capital into Emerging Rural Tourism Market

‘Winding Road’ project leads to jobs, small business growth in southeast Ohio

New Lexington, Ohio, September 4th, 2015- The U.S. Department of Agriculture today announced a grant of more than $180,000 as part of a nearly quarter-million dollar project to support and develop existing and new businesses in the southeast   Ohio Appalachia Region.

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This grant is the result of strategic efforts led by leaders in the region to build new capacity for economic growth,” said USDA Ohio Rural Development State Director Tony Logan. “A significant portion of the grant is set aside for a revolving loan fund to help rural small businesses focused on local foods, the arts, and travel and tourism that highlight the area’s pastoral natural landscape. As each loan is repaid, it can be loaned anew to another round of local businesses. It’s like the gift that keeps on giving!”

Administered by the non-profit Ohio’s Hill Country Heritage Area, the bulk of the Rural Business Development Grant provides technical assistance funding for training and other support for the Winding Road Collaborative and individuals interested in starting, owning, and operating their own rural small businesses. The associated revolving loan fund will benefit Athens, Perry and Morgan counties.

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Joined by Congressman Steve Stivers and Somerset Mayor Tom Johnson, Logan made the announcement during a tour of Lake St. Joseph – which the village is acquiring through the Clean Ohio Greenspace Conservation Fund- and a community kayak flotilla sponsored by the Perry County Soil & Water Conservation District at the Perry County Gun Club.

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To learn more about USDA Rural Development’s Rural Business Development Grant, visit http://www.rd.usa.gov/programs-services/rural-business-development-grants or call Ohio Rural Development Business & Cooperative Programs at 614-255-2400.

USDA’s investments in rural communities support the rural way of life that stands as the backbone of our American values. President Obama and Agriculture Secretary Vilsack are committed to a smarter use of federal resources to foster sustainable economic prosperity and ensure the government is a strong partner for businesses, entrepreneurs and working families in rural communities.

Taken from the United States Department of Agriculture News Release No. 15904, Public Affairs Specialist Heather Hartley: 614-255-2394, heather.hartley@oh.usda.gov

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