Region has economic development strategy plan in place

Bill Nachman - Posted on Mar 19, 2014 - 01:00 PM

After two years of local efforts, this region finally has an updated Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) in place, according to Harrison Bresee, regional economic development planner for the Middle Peninsula Planning District Commission.

The MPPDC was notified in February that the Economic Development Administration of the U.S. Commerce Department has accepted the CEDS plan local authorities submitted last year. Not only was the plan accepted, Bresee said, but also it was approved without requests for revisions—something he said that federal agency usually requires.

Among the top priorities of the plan, Bresee said, are broadband internet service, water and sewer infrastructure, a lab research facility at Gloucester Point, regional tourism, and expanding the rural economy here.

An item that is getting a lot of initial attention is broadband service, Bresee said, which consultants have recommended be approached using a fixed wireless system instead of a more costly fiber optic system.

The six counties and three towns on the Middle Peninsula were invited to attend a Jan. 14 workshop at MPPDC headquarters in Saluda, where Sandy Terry of the Center for Innovative Technology addressed broadband. A second seminar for government officials is scheduled at 9:30 a.m. on Friday, March 28, at the MPPDC offices, with representatives from the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development addressing funding opportunities for the CEDS program.