The Regional Economic Partnership (REP), M7, WEDC, and SEWRPC worked together during 2014 and 2015 to develop a Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) for the Region. A CEDS is designed to bring together the public and private sectors to develop a strategic plan to diversify and strengthen the Region’s economy. The CEDS has been adopted by each of the seven county boards in the Region, and was adopted by the Commission in December 2015.
The CEDS is intended to:
- Provide a basis for a more widespread understanding of the ongoing economic development work program in the Region, which draws heavily from the work of the M7 organization.
- Meet the requirements of the EDA for such work, thereby buttressing efforts to secure Federal funding for projects in the seven county Region that have a focus and impact on advancing economic development that will benefit economically distressed areas.
Following adoption of the CEDS in late 2015, SEWRPC submitted a request to the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) for designation of the Region as an Economic Development District (EDD). Designation as an EDD would have made the Region eligible for support from EDA through its Partnership Planning program to help implement the CEDS. In March 2017, SEWRPC was informed by EDA that the level of economic distress in the Region is not significant enough to warrant designation as an EDD. However, counties and communities that include an economically distressed census tract can apply for EDA Public Works and Economic Adjustment grants, based on the adopted CEDS, if those grants will benefit residents of economically distressed areas.
Benefits of Preparing and Adopting a CEDS
The CEDS planning process has brought together diverse interests, including both public and business interests, to develop a strategic plan for strengthening the regional economy and a plan of action to carry out the strategies. In addition, the CEDS:
- Provides a regional perspective for identifying and capitalizing on economic advantages, including strategies to reduce unemployment and increase incomes in the Region.
- Provides a more widespread understanding of the Region’s economic development work program, including an opportunity for public review and input.
- Provides a forum for identifying and prioritizing investment projects.
Adoption of the CEDS by a County Board makes county and local governments in the county with economically distressed areas eligible to apply for grants under EDA Public Works and Economic Adjustment programs, provided the grant project would benefit the distressed area. These programs provide funding for infrastructure projects and revolving loan funds and other business assistance programs, respectively. In addition, other Federal agencies look favorably on joint/regional planning efforts when reviewing proposed projects and grant requests.
For More Information
Questions about the CEDS may be directed to:
Ben McKay, AICP
SEWRPC Chief Community Assistance Planner
P.O. Box 1607
Waukesha, WI 53187-1607
262-547-6722, ext. 229