On January 14, 2015, the “Visions Northwest” Regional Economic Development Group met at the Flat Creek Inn & Suites in Hayward, Wisconsin to develop the new five-year Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy, or CEDS as it is commonly known.
The U.S. Department of Commerce – Economic Development Administration (EDA) requires the Northwest Regional Planning Commission (NWRPC) to publish the 5-year CEDS as a condition of maintaining its status as a recognized Economic Development District (EDD) and provide annual updates to EDA regarding performance toward meeting the goals and objectives identified in the CEDS document. NWRPC has been an EDA recognized Economic Development District since 1972 when partnership grants through EDA were created.
In the past, NWRPC would conduct individual meetings in each of its ten counties to formulate what was basically a compilation of ten individual county economic development plans with their respective projects and priorities listed. However, in late 2013 the newly formed “Visions Northwest Regional Economic Development Group” (Organized under the Wisconsin Business Innovation Corporation) agreed to assume the role and function of acting as the “CEDS Strategy Committee” to formulate a truly regional economic development plan. Further, EDA published ‘Final Rule-making’ effective January 20, 2015, that make the CEDS process more streamlined and efficient. Consequently, the old method of sending several hundred project listing and update sheets to every city, village, municipality and township in the 10-county NWRPC region will be a thing of the past.
Rather than create a large laundry list of projects from local units of government that could be used to qualify them as eligible for EDA or other federal agency funding by virtue of being included in the CEDS, that process will now entail them simply requesting a letter from NWRPC that informs the granting agency that the project has been deemed “eligible” which they can attach to their applications.
University of Wisconsin Extension Agents Tom Wojciechowski, Tim Kane, Will Andresen, and Ariga Grigoryan (pictured above) facilitated the Visions Northwest Group members throughout the CEDS planning meeting.