A weekly email from the Appalachian Regional Commission
In the Region: A weekly snapshot of news, announcements, and other tidbits from the Appalachian Regional Commission
ARC NEWS ROUNDUP  |  September 10, 2020  |  VOLUME 5, ISSUE 36
Editor’s Note:

As we face this pandemic together, In The Region will be providing a variety of resources we hope are helpful to you. Resources are also available at Please continue to check with state and federal authorities for health-related guidance and information.
The Moonlite Theater has given the historic Barter Theater in Abindgon, Virginia new hope for economic growth during COVID-19.


Yesterday, ARC's Annual Summit, Economic Innovation + Ingenuity During COVID-19: An Appalachian Perspective, wrapped up its final session with Attracting the Socially Distant Tourist. Ohio Development Service Agency Director Lydia Mihalik moderated the conversation between Executive Director of the Hatfield McCoy Regional Recreation Jeff Lusk; Director of TourismOhio Matthew MacLaren; and Producing Artistic Director of Barter Theatre in Abingdon, Virginia Katy Brown about how creative pivots in programming are continuing to safely serve tourists across the Region.

One example of amazing ingenuity is how the Barter Theater reclaimed the historic Moonlite Theater, a nearby abandoned drive-in, into a bustling live theater venue. Instead of movie, theater goers could watch live theater from the safety of their cars. In the first four weeks of operation, the MoonliteTheater attracted over 6,000 audience members, many of whom were new to the Barter Theater experience.

Over 640 unique participants signed on to seminars during the four week run which featured many other extraordinary stories of Appalachian ingenuity during COVID-19, including:

Lessons Learned in Leadership During the COVID-19 Crisis; Three for Three, Coshocton, Ohio 
During this session, Coshocton Port Authority Executive Director, and Appalachian Leadership Fellow Tiffany Swigert described the Three for Three program in Coshocton, Ohio which matches local youth with adult mentors, and works with local government, the port authority, tourism, and to further economic development over the next three years. 

Appalachia’s Dual Pandemics: Substance Abuse and COVID-19; Southern Tier 8 Regional Board. Binghamton, New York
During this session, Jennifer Gregory, Executive Director of Southern Tier 8 Regional Board, in Binghamton, New York described how they formed a diverse local partnership to develop a comprehensive recovery ecosystem. To widen their reach, the organization deliberately recruited new partners to the table, which in turn sharpened programming and furthered private sector investments.

Highways to Cyberways: Innovations in Infrastructure; Rural Broadband Expansion, Garrett County, Maryland
During this session, Cheryl DeBerry, Natural Resources Business Specialist, Garret County, Maryland described her county’s innovative public-private partnership to bring fixed wireless broadband connectivity to underserved areas in rural Appalachian Maryland.  

Recordings of all the sessions is available at

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Jackson County, Alabama participates in Opportunity Alabama's Rural Accelerator technical assistance progam.


Opportunity Alabama (OPAL), located in Birmingham, is a nonprofit initiative dedicated to connecting investors with assets in Alabama’s Opportunity Zones. Using ARC support, OPAL launched the Rural Recovery Accelerator, a technical assistance program to help low income and rural communities, especially in designated Opportunity Zones, become economically resilient during COVID-19. As part of the program, selected communities collaborate with members of the Opportunity Alabama team to address economic resiliency in five ways: strategy development data analysis, network development, marketing analysis and investment opportunities. The groups were selected based on their level of need, their capacity to address their need, and their ability to collaborate internally. Three of Alabama's Appalachian counties are now part of the Rural Recovery Accelerator -- Jackson, Calhoun and Chambers. 

In Jackson County, Opportunity Alabama is working closely with the Jackson County Economic Development Authority, Main Street Alabama Scottsboro, the Mountain Lakes Chamber of Commerce, Impact Learning Center, the City of Scottsboro, and TARCOG to equip communities, especially those in Opportunity Zones, with data, relationships, and strategies to recover and economically develop post-COVID-19. This partnership model is key to the Rural Recovery Accelerator model.

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Census response rates in most Appalachian states continue to remain low. Track your state using​ this tool from the Census. 


The Census closes in just 20 days! Getting counted in the Census helps secure federal investments in your community -- including: 
  • Highway & Road Planning and Construction
  • Community Development Grants
  • Rural Payment Assistance Payments
  • Water and waste disposal systems for rural communities
  • State Public Water System Supervision
  • Critical infrastructure construction
Please complete the Census today!
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The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) is an economic development agency of the federal government and 13 state governments focusing on 420 counties across the Appalachian Region. ARC’s mission is to innovate, partner, and invest to build community capacity and strengthen economic growth in Appalachia to help the Region achieve socioeconomic parity with the nation.
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Appalachian Regional Commission
1666 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Suite 700
Washington, DC 20009-1068