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CRC gets new member and CEDS approval

Cumberland County recently became the newest member of the Commonwealth Regional Council (CRC).

CRC Executive Director Melody Foster said Cumberland County officially became a member of the group April 1. Cumberland officials requested to join the economic development partnership for the remainder of this fiscal year, April 1 through June 30, and were able to do so at the rate of $5,000. The county has already requested to continue to be a member for the next fiscal year beginning July 1. Dues for the coming fiscal year will be $19,000.

Foster said Cumberland County hasn’t been a part of the CRC’s membership since 2012.

“We’re very excited to have them back as a member,” Foster said. “We actually have already worked with them on submitting a pre-application for VDOT SMART SCALE, so we hit the ground running.”

At its Tuesday, April 14, regular meeting the Cumberland County Board of Supervisors voted to elect a board member as the county’s CRC representative. Board Chairman and District 1 Supervisor Brian Stanley was selected as the representative, with County Administrator Don Unmussig serving as the alternate rep.

Stanley said county officials are pleased to have joined the CRC and look forward to working with other regional agencies to promote responsible growth that will enhance the lives of citizens in the region and specifically Cumberland.

The CRC also received exciting news April 15 when the Economic Development Administration (EDA) announced approval of the CRC’s CEDS.

The CRC received a $60,000 EDA grant in 2017 in order to create the CEDS for the CRC region, according to a release from the CRC. The Berkley Group was hired as the consultant to assist the council in producing the CEDS, which was submitted to EDA for approval in May of last year.

The approval means the CRC’s current member counties of Amelia, Buckingham, Charlotte, Lunenburg and Prince Edward will now be eligible to apply for EDA funding on many types of projects, including economic adjustment, trade adjustment assistance, planning, public works and technical assistance.

Although Cumberland is not included in this list of counties due to its recently acquired membership, the CRC is seeking an update of the CEDS to include Cumberland.

However, Cumberland can still apply for EDA funding utilizing another regional plan resource in the interim.

CRC’s next step is to apply for an Economic Development District (EDD) designation. EDDs are multi-jurisdictional entities that help lead locally based, regionally driven economic development planning by leveraging involvement of public, private and non-profit sectors, establishing a roadmap for regional collaboration.