Rural communities may qualify for federal economic development grants

Existence of program heightens chance of EDA approval

DENVER – Rural Colorado communities that were previously ineligible can now align their economic development projects with an approved Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) equivalent plan when submitting grant applications to the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA).

Communities in central north and northeast Colorado now have access to a series of CEDS-equivalent plans due to the COVID pandemic recovery efforts established this past summer by the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT) and the Department of Local Affairs (DOLA).

As part of Colorado’s comprehensive economic recovery effort, funding requests were submitted in June to the EDA for three signature initiatives. Prior to submitting these three grant applications, OEDIT and DOLA requested the EDA review a series of planning documents for CEDS-equivalency, including the State of Colorado’s Blueprint 2.0 strategy, updated in March 2018. 

The EDA’s acceptance of Colorado’s Blueprint 2.0 strategy (and the other plans) as a CEDS-equivalent plan(s) for areas of the state that were previously not covered by a CEDS, allows those areas to use these plans when applying for an EDA grant.

“The Economic Development Administration offers valued resources for both economic recovery and capacity-building projects,” said Glenn Plagens, director of Business Support and Rural Prosperity at Colorado OEDIT. “By having EDA CEDS equivalent plans in these previously ineligible areas of the state, we have enhanced our rural communities’ access to economic development funds under the EDA’s Public Works and Economic Adjustment Assistance Program.”

Communities can also pursue EDA funding to undergo a regional CEDS process within the defined geographic area. A CEDS is a prerequisite for designation by EDA as an Economic Development District (EDD) and is the result of a regionally-owned planning process designed to build capacity and guide the economic prosperity and resiliency of an area or region.

The EDA released a Notice of Funding Opportunities on May 7, 2020, announcing the establishment of a $1.467B CARES Act fund to assist state and local communities with construction and non-construction projects.

To learn more about EDA funding opportunities, visit Communities interested in pursuing an EDA federal grant are highly encouraged to contact the Colorado EDA representatives, Trent Thompson and Jamie Hackbarth from the Denver Regional Office, for assistance prior to applying.

Show Post Date