Acting Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Joel Baxley today announced the names of 47 rural communities and regions that will receive technical assistance to help create and implement long-term economic development plans.
“USDA and its partners are bringing local leaders and economic development experts together to create opportunity in some of the nation’s most economically challenged rural communities,” Baxley said. “Under the leadership of President Trump and Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, USDA is committed to building prosperity in America’s rural cities and towns.”
USDA is providing the assistance through an initiative called Rural Economic Development Innovation (REDI). USDA’s Innovation Center created REDI to support recommendations identified in the Report to the President from the Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity.
Each of the 47 communities and regions will be paired with one of four partner organizations that will provide free technical assistance for up to two years to help rural towns and regions create and implement economic development plans. USDA awarded $1.2 million in cooperative agreements to these partners in September 2018. The agreements will help the partners finance the free technical assistance. In Colorado, three entities were selected to receive technical assistance: Summit County Chamber of Commerce – Summit Prosperity Initiative, City of Craig and Moffat County, and Southwest Council of Governments in Durango.
McClure Engineering Company is partnering with CO.STARTERS and work with the Summit County Chamber of Commerce - Summit Prosperity Initiative CO. “This assistance will help to create jobs and identify alternative solutions to traditional child and health care services. Quality and affordable rural health and child care is essential for individuals and families, strengthening communities and providing opportunities for economic development. With this investment, the residents of Frisco, Silverthorne, Breckenridge and Dillon will build a foundation for long-term stability,” said Sallie Clark, State Director, USDA Rural Development.
The National Association of Counties Research Foundation is partnering with the National Association of Regional Councils and work with the City of Craig and Moffat County for planning assistance to help complete a broadband build-out plan titled “Developing High-Speed Connectivity.” The planning will also help develop workforce housing and senior independent-living housing. “Broadband is a necessity for economic development and critical infrastructure to ensure rural prosperity. The assistance provided will benefit residents of the city of Craig and Moffat County,” said Sallie Clark, Colorado State Director, USDA Rural Development.
The Rural Community Assistance Partnership (RCAP) will provide technical assistance to the Southwest Council of Governments in Durango through the organizations WealthWorks model. The model will help these rural communities and the region identify and market local assets and develop local industries and economic sectors. “The Four Corners region is heavily dependent on tourism, coal, oil and gas extraction, and agriculture. The funding and assistance from RCAP will help the Southwest Council of Governments (SWCOG) by creating a roadmap for diversifying the economy. USDA Rural Development appreciates the partnership with RCAP and SWCOG in establishing a foundation for economic prosperity in the region,” said Clark. This project will focus on Archuleta, Dolores, La Plata, Montezuma and San Juan counties in Colorado, and San Juan County in New Mexico. “The agreement with RCAP will finance free technical assistance to the communities and region,” said Clark.
USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov.