The EPA and partner communities will work to increase connectivity in the towns’ main streets or neighborhoods, pairing expected or existing broadband service with recreational amenities like parks and walks. The program intends to create walkable, environmentally friendly and revitalized downtown areas to promote local economies.
“Cool & Connected will help create vibrant, thriving places to live, work, and play,” EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said. “We’re excited to be working with these local leaders and use broadband service as a creative strategy to improve the environment and public health in Appalachian communities.”
The 10 most recently announced Cool & Connected communities also fall under the Administration’s Partnership for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization (POWER) initiative, which seeks to invest in communities that have previously relied on the coal industry. The newest Cool & Connected communities include: Haleyville, Alabama; Portsmouth, Ohio; Zanesville, Ohio; Clarion, Pennsylvania; Curwensville, Pennsylvania; Erwin, Tennessee; Jonesville and Pennington Gap, Virginia; Bluefield, West Virginia; Weirton, West Virginia; and Williamson, West Virginia.