Governor Justice Presents $2 Million Check to LIFT CenterTuesday, December 20, 2022
East End Project Receives $2 Million from Governor’s Office
Charleston, West Virginia (December 20, 2022) – The Charleston Area Alliance was presented with a $2 million check from Governor Jim Justice to support the development of the Learning, Innovation, Food & Technology Center (LIFT Center) on the East End of Charleston. The LIFT Center is one of eight component projects of the ACT Now Coalition, which was a Build Back Better Regional Challenge grant recipient of $62.8 million.
Located on the current site of Kanawha Manufacturing, situated on 9.7 acres in Charleston, the LIFT Center will reuse existing manufacturing space by rehabbing it and converting it to a 55,000 sq. ft. facility for the development of alternative/renewable energy, workforce training, and a commercial food hub.
“The Governor’s generous contribution not only provides the necessary match dollars that make the construction of the LIFT Center possible, it also demonstrates a commitment to cultivating innovative technologies and new industries in West Virginia,” said Nicole Christian, President & CEO of the Charleston Area Alliance. “As the lead entity for the ACT Now Coalition on the LIFT Center, we extend a sincere thank you to the Governor for his support of this project and the 21 counties of southern West Virginia represented by ACT Now.”
The LIFT Center will house the Marshall University Green Battery Institute, East Edge Factory, Dickinson Renewables/Edelene Renewables, Parthian Batteries, and the Food Hub. The project received $13 million in Build Back Better grant money from the EDA and is being developed in partnership with the Charleston Area Alliance, Coalfield Development Corporation, the City of Charleston, the WV Department of Economic Development, WV International Yeager Airport, and Advantage Valley. The City of Charleston has also committed $1.25 million in match money to the project.
“By reusing and rehabbing an existing facility, the development of the LIFT Center will have a lasting and transformative impact on our community,” said Christian.
“The LIFT Center is a foundational pillar of this historic coalition’s efforts to build the new economy our fellow southern West Virginians deserve,” said Brandon Dennison, Founder & CEO of Coalfield Development. “Thank you to Governor Justice for his major support of our work. There is a tremendous spirit of opportunity and excitement afoot in our state right now, and we are pleased to play our part. The ACT Now Coalition looks forward to following through on the new investment and new jobs promised via the LIFT Center project.”
ABOUT THE ACT NOW COALITION
The non-profit Coalfield Development Corporation of West Virginia is joined with a robust coalition to develop North America’s premier climate resilience cluster in what used to be coal country. This coalition brings together innovative not-for-profit Coalfield Development Corporation with WV’s two largest cities Charleston and Huntington, its two leading academic institutions West Virginia University and Marshall University, the Nature Conservancy, WV International Yeager Airport, the WV Brownfields Assistance Center, and key economic development organizations like the Charleston Area Alliance, Advantage Valley, Generation West Virginia, the West Virginia Community Development Hub, Grow Ohio Valley, and a network of private sector businesses to diversify the regional economy with green technologies and a climate resilient workforce. ACT Now will scale proven WV approaches to green technologies and create a vibrant growth sector via solar manufacturing and installations, sustainable mine land reclamation and reuse, green buildings, food and agro-forestry, biobased products, outdoor recreation, workforce development, and community placemaking and resilience initiatives.
ABOUT BUILD BACK BETTER REGIONAL CHALLENGE
The U.S. Congress passed and President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) in March 2021, which provided $1 billion to the U.S. Economic Development Administration for a major economic development initiative. EDA launched the “Build Back Better Regional Challenge” competition, inviting regions from across America to put forward the most innovative ideas for economic renewal. From the 529 applications EDA received in October 2021, 60 finalists emerged in December 2021. Coalfield Development was pleased to be a challenge finalist, CEO Brandon Dennison went to the White House with top national leadership, and the ACT Now Coalition and the other finalists each received $500,000 grants to get their economic revitalization plans ready for implementation. In March 2022, the ACT Now Coalition submitted their proposals, and on September 2 the White House announced that WV’s Act Now had won.
The Charleston Area Alliance is a multi-faceted economic, business and community development organization as well as the largest regional Chamber of Commerce in West Virginia. The Alliance attracts and retains innovative industries and workforce, revitalizes urban spaces and improves Charleston, West Virginia and the Kanawha Valley through a unified mission and strategic goals. Learn more about Alliance programs and events at www.charlestonareaalliance.org.