In January 2017, the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) designated the Roanoke Valley-Alleghany region an Economic Development District (EDD). This designation enhances our ability to obtain grants from EDA. A key function of EDDs is to develop, maintain and assist in implementing a regional CEDS and support local governments in short-term planning activities.
The EDD area will be comprised of the counties of Alleghany, Botetourt, Craig, the incorporated towns of the region, and Roanoke; and the cities of Covington, Roanoke and Salem.
The EDD designation supports the RVARC work on the CEDS which documents and prioritizes the strategic economic goals of the region. This strengthens the capacity of localities, institutions of higher education, and other eligible recipients to undertake and promote economic development programs. It also creates a more straightforward process for localities from the entire region to apply for EDA funds. Previously localities had to identify eligible areas based on Census tracts or special needs areas using per capita income and unemployment rates. An example is the City of Roanoke application for an access road to Deschutes is in a tract with low per capita income and the city was a special needs area due to the loss of jobs at Norfolk Southern. Now a project located anywhere in the region that can show a regional impact is eligible. The designation will create more opportunities to work with EDA and its Federal partners such as HUD, EPA, ARC and FHWA on initiatives that require large amounts of funding from more than one resource. Project grant applications listed in the CEDS may also receive higher score since they are listed as a priority in a regional economic development plan (for example the VDOT Smart Scale funding).
The Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) planning process is managed by the Regional Commission, as the CEDS District Organization. A CEDS is a document and ongoing planning process designed to bring together the public and private sectors in the creation of a regional economic plan. This plan is designed to diversify and strengthen regional economies. This CEDS assesses regional economies, establishes regional goals and objectives, and outlines an action plan of priority projects. In general, the CEDS presents a set of regional priorities that when undertaken improve regional competitiveness and wealth in a global economy. The Roanoke Valley-Alleghany CEDS is the product of a planning process involving a committee of 38 voting members representing the local governments, major employers, small businesses, workforce development, regional economic development, higher education, and minority groups. All projects receiving assistance through the EDA programs must be consistent with the CEDS. Updates are published annually.