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Alleghany Highlands

Vibrant Virginia Community Exploratory

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The Alleghany Highlands Community Exploratory

The focus of this project is on enhancing strategic readiness for asset-aligned economic opportunities. The ultimate aim is to build local capacity, reduce disparity, and strengthen the economy of the Alleghany Highlands region.

Project Context

The Alleghany Highlands region includes the city of Covington, the town of Clifton Forge, and the county of Alleghany. During 2010-12, the region undertook a downtown revitalization study along with several sector studies. October 2012 marked a successful celebration of business development that built enthusiasm for focusing on economic development opportunities. In 2013, the region came together to craft a Vision 2025 plan. The region has experienced success and made progress on many of these plans’ core goals, and work continued with a community planning academy and the completion of the county and city comprehensive plans adopted in 2019. Coming through the pandemic, there is a desire to dust off some of those previous efforts while also grounding future planning in an updated data-driven approach that assesses the region’s current economic conditions and prioritizes high-value, asset-aligned, economic opportunities.

Project Description

A Project Advisory Team of regional leaders will work with a Virginia Tech team led by the Virginia Tech Center for Economic and Community Engagement (VT CECE). Together, the partners will assess the current conditions (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats), review key plans still in use, and develop a strategic road map for pursuing economic opportunities.

The project will identify and encourage opportunities that relate to the region’s existing strengths and assets that diversify and strengthen the regional economy and represent opportunities for reducing disparity and for growing wealth across the population.

Project Outcomes

The work products will include a comprehensive economic opportunities scan as well as a strategic action plan, with strategies and action steps. In addition, VT CECE will look for connection points between the needs and opportunities in the Alleghany Highlands, with Virginia Tech faculty, or other resource and education partners outside the region. VT CECE will also encourage Virginia Teach faculty to engage and serve as an ongoing liaison to help connect Virginia Tech resources with partners, industry, and organizations in the Alleghany Highlands.