The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development (RD) office in Virginia recognized the Accomack-Northampton Planning District Commission (A-NPDC) this week in Melfa, Va. for the completion of a high quality regional economic development plan for the Eastern Shore.
“The agency is very proud of the hard work and dedication that the Eastern Shore region committed to completing high quality economic development plans,” said Janice Stroud-Bickes, Virginia Acting State Director USDA Rural Development. “We look forward to continuing support to the region as it fulfills its identified goals.”
The Accomack-Northampton Planning District Commission received an award of outstanding achievement for the November 2016 completion of the Stronger Economies Together (SET) regional economic development plan Tuesday at Eastern Shore Community College. Executive Director Elaine Meil, Director of Planning Curtis Smith and Eastern Shore Community College President Dr. Linda K. Thomas-Glover accepted the award on behalf of the commission during the Accomack-Northampton Economic Development Committee’s public meeting.
Aerospace and Defense; Agribusiness and Food Processing; Arts, Entertainment, Recreation, & Visitor Industries; and Foundational & Entrepreneurship Development are the four industries that members of the region identified as cluster goals to further economic development.
Since completion of the plan, the Eastern Shore has leveraged $5.7 million of RD and other funding consisting of almost $20,000 in rural business programs, $151,700 for community facilities programs, nearly $20,000 in rural utilities programs, and $5.5 million to support rural housing.
SET is a regional economic improvement program that enables communities and counties in rural America to work together in creating and implementing an economic development blueprint for their multi-county region by strategically building on the current and emerging economic strengths of that region.
The Eastern Shore is one of three regions that was selected for the SET Phase V economic development planning process in the fall of 2015. The process consisted of four structured community meetings that began in October 2015 and concluded in March 2016.
The meetings allowed residents and community leaders from the Eastern Shore – consisting of Accomack and Northampton counties including Tangier Island –to plan collaboratively and alongside experts who offer access to and analysis of economic data.
Virginia’s State Resource Team brought the talents and resources of USDA Rural Development Virginia, Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development and Virginia Tech through VA Cooperative Extension Service to provide coaching and technical assistance to the regional team.
The SET technical support team in Virginia includes the Virginia Tech Office of Economic Development, the Virginia Rural Center, and various agencies from the Office of the Secretary of Commerce and Trade, including the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development, Virginia Tourism Corporation, and Virginia Economic Development Partnership.
USDA Rural Development in 2016 invested more than $1.2 billion in rural Virginia through 40 loan, grant and loan guarantee programs in housing, business, agriculture, energy, health care and community facilities. It has employees stationed in 14 offices across the commonwealth to better serve residents where they live and to improve the economy and quality of life in rural Virginia.
For more information, please visit www.rd.usda.gov/va.