By Jann Wiswall

The Southern Tier West Board of Directors heard presentations from six organizations that are preparing grant proposals to be submitted for Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) FY 2015 Grants.

The six organizations include Pioneer Central School District, SUNY Alfred State College, YMCA of the Twin Tiers, Jamestown Community College, the Village of Westfield and Southern Tier West’s Regional Farmers Market Program.

Applicants have until September to prepare their final grant applications. ARC grants are awarded for projects that meet its four strategic goals:

General Goal 1: Increase job opportunities and per capita income in Appalachia to reach parity with the nation.

General Goal 2: Strengthen the capacity of the people of Appalachia to compete in the global economy.

General Goal 3: Develop and improve Appalachia’s infrastructure to make the region economically competitive.

General Goal 4: Build the Appalachian Development Highway System to reduce Appalachia’s isolation.

The presentations were made at the board’s Thursday, June 26 meeting.

ARC funds some 400 projects in 13 states each year.

In other business, STW Director Richard Zink reported that the U.S. House of Representatives approved ARC’s non-highway funding at $80.3 million, which is level with FY 2014 funding. $10 million is to be used for efforts to bring high-speed broadband to “distressed counties.”

Zink noted that STW has applied for an ARC grant to support its regional farmers’ market program, as well as a USDA grant to allow it to analyze and develop a marketing plan for a proposed meat processing plant in the region. The organization also is seeking funding through the Southern Tier Enterprise Development Organization for broadband expansion in Cattaraugus County.

Zink also introduced new staff member Jonathon Mayr as the organization’s new GIS Project Coordinator. Mayr, who replaces Courtney Waters, also will be managing storm water and transportation projects.

The next meeting of the Southern Tier West board is scheduled for Thursday, July 17, at 1 p.m. in its Salamanca offices.