Three Rivers receives federal strategy funding

Three Rivers Planning and Development District will receive a three-year, $189,000 grant from the Economic Development Administration for economic development strategy formulation, U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., said Friday.
Three Rivers executive Vernon R. “Randy” Kelley III said the federal funds would be matched 100 percent by the Three Rives counties – Calhoun, Chickasaw, Itawamba, Lafayette, Lee, Monroe, Pontotoc and Union. Three Rivers is headquartered in Pontotoc.
Kelley said EDA and the Appalachian Regional Commission are the only federal agencies allowing the assignment of Three Rivers staff experts as needed to help member counties.
“We get this grant, thanks to Sen. Cochran, every three years, and we match it with $60,000 per year in money from the member counties,” Kelley said.
“This region (Northeast Mississippi) has suffered during the economic downturn, but the Three Rivers has been diligent about working to help create jobs. This grant will allow the district to continue to coordinate support for a variety of economic development projects and build on the support it now offers to improve manufacturing, industrial parks, business incubators and other initiatives in the region,” Cochran said.
The federal funding originates in money approved by Congress for the EDA in the FY2010 Commerce, Justice and Science Appropriations Bill.
In its application to the EDA, the TRPDD indicated the grant would be an investment that is “market-based and results driven in that it seeks to increase higher-skill, higher-wage jobs and private-sector investment in the region” by promoting a comprehensive economic development strategy that will “help TRPDD as it looks beyond the immediate economic horizon, anticipates economic changes, and helps diversify the local and regional economies.”
The TRPDD also gained the grant by stressing its in its proposal a commitment to “promoting new ideas and principles aimed at enhancing economic growth opportunities, and the region has several such efforts under way (e.g., Itawamba Community College’s WIN Manufacturing Solutions Center and Phase II of the Renasant Center for IDEAs project in Lee County).”
The proposed EDA investment will enable Three Rivers and its partners to continue to sustain and develop economic “clusters” to achieve success within the global marketplace.

NEMS Daily Journal