Jan. 7, 2008
For Immediate Release
Contact: Bonnie Prigge or Connie Willman, 573-265-2993
MRPC Seeking Input on Updated Economic Development Strategy
St. James — As a federally designated economic development district, Meramec Regional Planning Commission—on behalf of its eight counties and 31 cities—maintains a Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy to guide economic development efforts in the region. The strategy is updated annually and must be reworked entirely every five years.
“2007 was the year for the rewrite, so we are now seeking public comment on the revised strategy,” explained Richard Cavender, executive director of Meramec Regional Planning Commission. “This document is over 500 pages and represents a year’s worth of work.”
Cities and counties in the region were surveyed on needs and projects, explained Connie Willman, planning and development manager. MRPC’s planning committee, chaired by John Petersen of Rolla, monitors the CEDs and works with staff to add needs and projects, identify new strategies and remove those that are accomplished.
"It’s a dynamic document,” said Willman. “It’s ever-changing, and it’s relevance becomes more and more important.”
Willman explained that the strategy helps guide MRPC’s work. “If there’s an issue effecting several of our local government, then MRPC is going to be looking at a regional solution.”
Cavender also stressed that more and more funding agencies want to see what kind of planning has been done on a particular issue. “In other words, is it really a need or is an organization just chasing grant money?” he explained.
As a part of MRPC, counties and their respective cities qualify for federal economic development grants. To maintain that opportunity, MRPC must maintain its economic development strategy and makes sure it addresses the needs of the entire region.
MRPC is now accepting comments on the completed CEDS, and it is available for review online at www.meramecregion.org. Any comments can be directed to Willman at MRPC, 4 Industrial Drive, St. James, MO, 65559 or by email to cwillman at meramecregion.org. All comments must be received by Jan. 30, 2008, so they can be submitted to the Economic Development Administration as a part of the final plan.
Formed in 1969, MRPC is a voluntary council of governments serving Crawford, Dent, Gasconade, Maries, Osage, Phelps, Pulaski and Washington counties and their respective cities. A professional staff of 26, directed by the 52-member MRPC board, offers technical assistance and services, such as grant preparation and administration, housing assistance, transportation planning, environmental planning, ordinance codification, business loans and other services to member communities.