Rural Action CEO Debbie Phillips and Athens, Ohio Mayor Steve Patterson shared how recent federal action, like the American Rescue Plan (ARP), the Infrastructure, Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), the Chips + Act, and the Inflation Reduction Act are game-changers for his rural small town.
Speaking at the White House’s Communities in Action: Building a Better Ohio event on September 7th, Patterson detailed some of the ways these federal investments are being put to use in his local community.
- Athens is studying its zoning ordinances to help folks install solar panels on their home or on their property
- Athens is leveraging the city’s carbon-tax to help the city install solar panels on government buildings
- Rural Action is using funds from IIJA and the IRA to support and expand work on abandoned mines and orphaned and abandoned oil and gas wells, stopping methane emissions and creating good paying jobs simultaneously
- Rural Action is also making investments in community economic development
- Rural Action has restored 74 miles of previously dead streams to high-quality aquatic systems
- Rural Action has used ARP funds for AmeriCorps programs to expand workforce and leadership development, including helping young people, recent graduates and dislocated workers stay in the region
- Partnerships in the region to create paid high school internships are one outcome of Rural Action’s AmeriCorps program, expanded by ARP dollars (expanding from 31 to 70 AmeriCorps members)
Federal investments are hitting home in Southeast Ohio, and local leaders have more opportunities to come to address local challenges.