Up to $500 million possibly headed to Southeast Ohio

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PORTSMOUTH, Ohio (WSAZ) — Big money could be coming to southeast Ohio.

A proposal would split half a billion dollars in federal money among counties in Ohio’s Appalachia, where Gov. Mike DeWine made a few stops Thursday to discuss the announcement.

Among those stops was the Scioto County Visitor Center in Portsmouth. The governor said 32 counties in Appalachia will benefit from the $500 million investment.

DeWine said it would support local initiatives to revitalize downtown areas, improve quality of life and help rebuild the economies of those counties.

The proposal includes a $50 million planning phase to allow communities to come up with plans on how to use the money. Then the remaining $450 million and implementation grants would be invested to carry out these plans.

Every Ohio county in our viewing area falls under this. DeWine said the money could be spent on things like broadband education and workforce development, and substance abuse disorders.

“Everyone is going to have to come up with their own program because we really think the local community is best,” DeWine said. “It shouldn’t be something Columbus, Ohio decides, the governor decides, or the legislature decides. Local communities need to come together on these different planes, and every community is different.

The governor said the $500 million proposal will need to be approved by the state legislature. With DeWine up for re-election and Ohio’s primary next week, he said the timing of this announcement is unrelated.

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