Press Releases

Warner, Kaine Announce $100,000 to Promote Unmanned Systems Industry in Alleghany County

Funds will support local businesses and create new jobs in this emerging industry

Aug 29 2017

WASHINGTON— U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) announced today that the City of Covington is receiving $100,000 in federal funds from the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) to promote the unmanned systems industry in Alleghany County.

The $100,000 grant will be matched with $100,000 in local funds to complete a feasibility study and design, marketing, and business plan for the new “Alleghany Highlands Drone Zone,” a business accelerator program and facility to support local enterprises in this emerging industry. It is anticipated that space for 12 businesses will be available in a city owned building that has been identified for renovation, and the project is expected to support the creation of three to five new businesses a year, according to ARC.

“This grant will help Alleghany County promote economic growth and create new jobs in the exciting and growing field of unmanned systems,” said the Senators. “These federal funds show why it is important to maintain key federal, state, regional, and local partnerships and investments like those supported by ARC, which help our region build a stronger and more diverse economy.”

In addition, training partnerships with Dabney Lancaster Community College will provide entrepreneurs with the support needed to establish and grow businesses, and opportunities for recreational drone usage will be developed through expanded partnerships with the Greenbrier and Homestead Resorts. Existing local drone racing and training events are also expected to expand.

Warner and Kaine are strong supporters of the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC), which is an economic development agency of the federal government and 13 state governments focusing on 420 counties across the Appalachian region. Its mission is to innovate, partner, and invest to build community capacity and strengthen economic growth in Appalachia and help the region achieve socioeconomic parity with the nation. President Trump’s proposed budget would endanger these types of federal grants by seeking to completely defund ARC.