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Originally published: 2014-06-18 14:46:47
Last modified: 2014-06-18 14:47:44

$426,945 grant awarded

U.S Sen. Kay Hagan (D-NC) on Tuesday announced a $426,945 grant from the Department of Commerce's Economic Development Administration to construct water and wastewater infrastructure needed to serve Appalachian Regional Healthcare System's new facility, which will be located in   Blowing Rock.

The grant is expected to save 110 jobs and create 59 new jobs, according to a news release from Hagan.

The project, which partners ARHS and Appalachian State University's College of Health Sciences, will boost health care sciences career development and advance workforce skills.

The new facility is tentatively named Chestnut Ridge at Blowing Rock and will be located on property purchased by ARHS three years ago near the intersection of U.S. 321 and the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Groundbreaking for the new facility will take place on Tuesday, June 24.

The new facility will replace Blowing Rock Hospital, which recently turned 50 years old.

"This grant is an important investment in Blowing Rock and will improve the quality of life for the entire community," Hagan said.

"I applaud this important partnership between ARHS and Appalachian State to enhance students' experience and better prepare our next generation of health care professionals. I am working in the Senate to make sure we continue investing in infrastructure improvements for North Carolina's rural communities."

"The town of Blowing Rock very much appreciates the Economic Development Administration's financial support of this project aimed at saving 110 existing jobs and providing 59 new ones, while supporting post acute care services for Blowing Rock and the surrounding region," Blowing Rock Town Manager Scott Fogleman said. "It is only through grant partnerships such as this that we would be able to provide this very important utility project."

Hagan sent a letter to U.S. Department of Commerce Deputy Assistant Secretary Matt Erskine in July 2013 touting the benefits this investment would bring to North Carolina's High Country and urging full consideration of ARHS' grant application.

EDA grants are awarded through a competitive process based upon the application's merit, including number of jobs created, eligibility and availability of funds.