Governor DeWine Announces $152 Million in Appalachian Waterfront Development

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, Lt. Governor Jon Husted, and Ohio Department of Development Director Lydia Mihalik today announced 21 new economic development projects to transform communities along Ohio’s Appalachian waterfront.

As part of Ohio’s Wonderful Waterfronts Initiative, $152 million will be awarded to communities in 12 counties to expand access to local waterways, revitalize historic riverfront downtowns, and create new tourism and recreational opportunities. 

“When we launched this program, we asked our Appalachian communities to think big, and that’s exactly what they did,” said Governor DeWine. “The projects we’re announcing today were developed by those living in our Appalachian riverfront communities because no one knows what’s needed to make this region thrive better than those who live here.”

The 17 riverfront communities receiving funding include Beverly, Portsmouth, Marietta, Gallipolis, Sardis, Higginsport, Ironton (2), South Point, Burlington, Ripley, Racine, Proctorville, New Richmond, Pomeroy, McConnelsville (2), Middleport, and Zanesville. Other projects included in the $152 million investment are downtown revitalizations in Caldwell and New Philadelphia.

“The Ohio River and its tributaries have long served as a source of commerce and economic opportunity, however, Ohio has not maximized these resources for recreation, tourism and improving the quality of life for the people who live there,” said Lt. Governor Jon Husted. “Better days are on the way as this investment will make all of these communities a better place to live and play.”

Projects funded through Ohio’s Wonderful Waterfronts Initiative include outdoor infrastructure improvements involving river-to-downtown connections, downtown redevelopment and streetscape improvements, boat ramps, docks, and parks. Projects will improve walkability within communities and enhance riverfronts to increase tourism.

“By revitalizing riverfront communities and enhancing access to some of Ohio’s most precious natural resources, we’re not just embarking on a journey of economic growth; we’re catalyzing a profound transformation in the lives of our people, fostering new opportunities and shaping a brighter future for generations to come,” said Mihalik. 

Funding for Ohio’s Wonderful Waterfronts 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 funding awarded as part of the Appalachian Community Grant Program includes: 

  • Appalachian Children’s Health Initiative: $64 million to create or expand community- and school-based health clinics and launch healthcare-focused workforce development programs to train the next generation of Appalachian healthcare professionals.  
  • Appalachian Downtowns and Destinations Initiative: $154 million to raise the area’s profile as a travel destination and improve quality of life for local residents by revitalizing historic downtown districts, creating new opportunities for recreation, and amplifying the experience for those visiting the region’s cultural sites. 

Approximately $80 million in funding from the Appalachian Community Grant Program was awarded to several  shovel-ready projects and planning projects. Additional grants for waterfront communities will be announced in coming days. 

The Appalachian Community Grant Program is administered by the Governor’s Office of Appalachia within the Department of Development. In total, the DeWine-Husted Administration has invested approximately $2 billion into Ohio’s Appalachian counties since 2019. 

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