Check presentation for the broadband project. Courtesy of Harvest Foundation.

Here’s a round-up of news briefs from around Southwest and Southside. Send yours for possible inclusion to

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Harvest Foundation gives grant for broadband in Martinsville and Henry County

The Harvest Foundation in Martinsville has provided $1,491,500 in matching grant funds to leverage state and federal funding to help achieve universal broadband in Martinsville-Henry County, according to a release from the foundation.

DeWitt House, senior program officer, said broadband access is a utility to which everyone should have unrestricted access.

This funding leverages resources provided by a VATI (Virginia Telecommunications Initiative) grant of $33,571,073 secured in 2021 by the West Piedmont Planning District Commission (WPPDC) to connect 10,056 unserved locations in Henry, Patrick, and Franklin counties. Other partners include RiverStreet Networks and Appalachian Power. Virginia’s DHCD (Department of Housing and Community Development) administers the VATI program.

Henry County’s universal broadband project includes two phases. The first phase begins in the fall and should take approximately two years to complete. Phase 1 will connect 3,058 locations identified through county research using GIS, broadband surveys, and guidance from the Virginia DHCD. Phase 2 will connect locations not previously identified in the original survey and expand broadband access to locations with internet that may not meet high-speed standards.  

The Harvest Foundation is a nonprofit organization established in 2002 by the sale of Memorial Hospital. (For more on such hospital conversion foundations, see our previous story, “Hospital conversion foundations become philanthropic powerhouses.“)

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Radford receives grant for trail

The Appalachian Regional Commission has awarded $700,000 to the City of Radford for the East Main River and Rail Downtown Connector Trail, according to a release from Rep. Morgan Griffith, R-Salem.

“The East Main River and Rail Downtown Connector Trail will help invigorate the City of Radford’s downtown area and improve accessibility for pedestrians and cyclists,” Griffith said in a statement. “ARC’s award of $700,000 provides a valuable boost to completing this project.”

According to ARC, funding will construct a 1,750 linear-foot trail between Radford’s commercial district and the New River recreation area, providing safe access for pedestrians and cyclists visiting Bissett Park and the river, as well as students at Radford University, to visit downtown Radford. The project will improve 40 businesses and bring 500 new visitors to town annually.

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Wise County receives grant for water project

The Appalachian Regional Commission has awarded $473,170 to Wise County for the Bear Creek Water Project, according to a release from Rep. Morgan Griffith, R-Salem.

According to ARC, the project will fund installation of 2,600 linear feet of 6-inch water line, 850 linear feet of 2-inch water line, 1,700 linear feet of ¾-inch water service line, two fire hydrants, all applicable appurtenances, and eleven connections. The households that will be served by this project currently use private wells found to be contaminated.