ASHLAND — A $50,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce will allow the Mid-Missouri Regional Planning Commission to continue work on a comprehensive economic development strategy for the six-county area.
This is the third year in a row the commission has received funding through the Commerce Department’s Economic Development Administration.
The Mid-Missouri Regional Planning Commission assists the governments of Boone, Callaway, Cole, Cooper, Howard and Moniteau counties as well as 38 municipal governments. It provides technical assistance such as local comprehensive planning, economic development, community development, mapping services and grant aid.
The Department of Commerce said in a news release from Sen. Claire McCaskill that the grant will be used to both develop and implement a comprehensive economic development strategy and to support private capital investment and job creation.
Edward Siegmund, executive director of the planning commission, said the economic development strategy is already under way and the grant will assist the organization in more than one way.
“The funding will enable us to do three things,” Siegmund said. “It allows us to provide technical assistance to communities to address their needs, it gives us the opportunity to analyze different data — demographics, etc. — to plan ahead to anticipate what may be happening to maintain a high quality of life in the mid-Missouri region for residents, and it allows us to tap into federal sources when needed for different projects.”
The role of the commission is to act as “a support arm to the existing economic development programs throughout the region and provide technical assistance in linkage to federal funding,” Siegmund said.
Although the role of the commission hasn’t changed during hard economic times, Siegmund noted that mid-Missouri residents certainly have felt the impact.
McCaskill said in her news release that the Commerce Department grant is timely.
“In an economically uncertain time when more and more families and small businesses are struggling to stay afloat, I’m pleased to see this federal funding coming to mid-Missouri to help with economic development and job creation in this part of our state,” McCaskill said.