Last week the Central Connecticut Regional Planning Agency (CCRPA) was officially designated as an Economic Development District (EDD) by the U.S. Department of Commerce. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce, Erskine, wrote that this “designation will serve as a foundation for future economic successes that will benefit both families and businesses” in Central Connecticut. The designation covers Berlin, Bristol, Burlington, New Britain, Plainville, Plymouth, and Southington.
As an EDD, CCRPA will have access to resources for accelerating the region’s economic recovery. Congressman John Larson noted: “In our current recovery, cities and towns across Connecticut are working to strengthen economic development. With this designation, the Central Connecticut Regional Planning Agency will be better positioned to utilize state and federal resources as they continue to support efforts in Bristol, Southington and throughout Central Connecticut.”
Timothy Malone, from CCRPA, said “The municipalities of the Central Connecticut Region will benefit from increased eligibility for federal funding and a stronger regional economic development organization.” One potential funding source is Economic Development Administration grants, which are designed to further their mission by “providing financial assistance to meet the economic development needs of distressed communities” and “lead the federal economic development agenda by promoting innovation and competitiveness”.
CCRPA worked closely with Connecticut’s congressional delegation to secure this designation. Senator Blumenthal said, “I was proud to support this important effort through my role on the Senate Commerce Committee, and I applaud the Central Connecticut Regional Planning Agency for their longtime dedication to the economic growth of Central Connecticut. This valuable designation will help bring new federal resources and support to the region, strengthening communities, adding jobs and bolstering our local businesses. I look forward to working with CCRPA to ensure the federal government is a true partner in their economic development efforts.”
State Representative Frank Nicastro said “I am extremely pleased with this achievement of the Central Connecticut Regional Planning Agency and strongly support the work that they have done to accomplish this critically important designation”.
CCRPA began pursuing EDD designation to implement its recently completed Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS). That strategy approaches economic development with a regional perspective, considering the interconnectedness of each community. New Britain Mayor Tim O’Brien noted the positive impact it will have on local projects: “This recognition underscores the effectiveness of the strategic work New Britain and the Central Connecticut Region have done to create jobs and strengthen the economy. It will help us secure the critical resources with which to build the next phases of New Britain’s revitalization program.”
Congresswoman Esty noted that the designation is not an end unto itself, but another tool for the region: “I congratulate the Central Connecticut Regional Planning Agency on earning this well-deserved recognition, and I will continue to work with CCRPA to make sure small businesses and communities have the support they need to create good-paying jobs right here in central Connecticut.”
In addition to economic development planning, CCRPA coordinates transportation, land use, and natural hazard mitigation efforts for the seven-town region.