Generally communities understand the concept of economic development and have a realistic view of their fiscal health. In most cases this leads to the realization that development and growth are critical to their long-term survival. There are times, however, when communities can be overwhelmed by their circumstances and for economic development lack the expertise to fully assess their situation and opportunities. "Getting started” and "knowing where to go” is often the most difficult part of any task and it is particularly so for communities having many mandated responsibilities, but limited resources to accomplish them. Therefore, the Virginia Economic Developers Association (VEDA) is offering the Community Response Program to assist communities facing extraordinary economic needs or a disaster-related crisis, review their options and initiate a development strategy.
The Community Response Program will provide a locality an unbiased review of its current economic development situation through the eyes of development practitioners with decades of state, regional and local experience. It is envisioned the vehicle for this assistance will be dialogue between local business, economic and political leadership and the Cardinal Team (CT). The CT would review data/profiles/information provided by the community prior to in-community tours and meetings.
It is envisioned the CT would spend approximately one day in the community in meetings with the community’s leadership and touring/observing the area. The following half-day the CT would share their thoughts, analysis and recommendations. The community would be expected to provide a scribe to summarize the findings and to produce a public report. Should specific issues and/or questions arise during the dialogue for which additional research and reflection is warranted the Cardinal Team will prepare an additional document addressing these items.
There will be no charge for the program although the community will be expected to cover travel expenses of the Cardinal Team (normally two or three). In addition to the requirements listed in the Program Description and Eligible Communities sections, communities in the application process must assure the locality is committed to development and their elected and appointed leadership will participate in the process. Communities are encouraged to dovetail their request for this assistance with other available resources such as the CDBG planning grants for community needs or economic assessments.
A community/group application should be in the form of a letter from the chief administrative officer and include the following:
• The community’s statement of their economic health (not necessarily a complete economic base analysis, but sufficient information to demonstrate status of the drivers of the local economy).
• Must convey any specific local concerns they want the Cardinal Team to address.
• Must make an expression of elected and appointed leadership commitment for local efforts toward economic development.
• Must agree to reimburse Cardinal Team for travel expenses.
• Must establish a local point of contact in order to make arrangements.
Community/Group Applications Should Be Submitted to:
Virginia Economic Developers Association
1340 N Great Neck Road, #1272-128
Virginia Beach, VA 23454
Phone: 757-412-2664; Fax: 866-873-3690