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Group’s work: To get funds from feds

Public invited to RCEDS meetings

ROCK FALLS – The Blackhawk Hills Regional Council has been preparing Regional Comprehensive Economic Development Strategies in order to qualify for federal funding for its six-county district for 20 years.

Yet many people remain unaware of what the RCEDS are.

“It’s one of those things that a lot of people don’t understand we have to do for the area,” said Theresa Wittenauer, economic development coordinator.

The plan must be composed every 5 years and updated annually to make Lee, Whiteside, Ogle, Jo Daviess, Stephenson and Carroll counties eligible for federal funding through the Economic Development Administration.

It includes priorities, goals and projects that the cities and counties in the district need to do. It also includes data about closures of large businesses and information on which cities and counties are “distressed,” meaning there’s a lack of employment or a lack of personal income reflected in 24-month data.

Being classified as distressed makes a county eligible for certain funds and gives the county priority for certain projects.

Lee, Ogle, Whiteside and Stevenson counties are considered distressed because of unemployment, and no counties in the district are distressed because of low personal income, she said.

Even so, the district as a whole is distressed, she said.

The group that establishes the RCEDS meets quarterly, and the next meeting is Wednesday.

Any person from the district who would like to share needs can attend, and speakers sometimes present.

iFiber rep to talk about enhanced broadband

ROCK FALLS – Janet Rogers, director of business development for iFiber, will speak at the upcoming Regional Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy meeting at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday at the Lanark Heritage Center, 106 S. Broad St.

Rogers will talk about why enhanced broadband access is important for businesses, and will explain the potential impact of enhanced broadband access on economic development and business activities in the region.

The Regional CEDS meetings are held quarterly; representatives from Carroll, Lee, Jo Daviess, Ogle, Stephenson, and Whiteside counties attend. The meetings are open to the public. 

Call Blackhawk Hills Regional Council, 815-625-3854, for more information.

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