Athens County Commissioners recently took the first step to make a new source of economic development funds available to local entities in an eight-county region, The Athens Messenger reports. The commissioners “created a county review committee for any local applications seeking funding from the Southern Ohio Agricultural and Community Development Foundation,” according to the article. A total of $100,000 “has been earmarked for a group of eight Appalachian Regional Commission-designated counties that include Athens, Meigs, Vinton, Morgan, Washington, Ross, Monroe and Noble counties.” Businesses, political subdivisions and public nonprofits such as community improvement corporations or port authorities are eligible to apply; applications are due April 1. The foundation’s executive director, Don Branson, said that no more than $50,000 can go to any one county. The funding can be used for up to 35 percent of the total cost of a project; it is “intended to leverage other private, local, state and federal money.” For more, read the full article.