In early 2022, the U.S. Economic Development Administration approved BRPC’s request for designation as an Economic Development District (EDD). The EDD is comprised of all municipalities within Berkshire County, and recognizes the region’s demonstrated enthusiasm and competence in partnering with EDA to pursue the mutually held goals of regionally collaborative economic development work and innovation-driven economic growth. It also serves as the foundation for future economic successes that will benefit both families and businesses in the region.
After carefully exploring the feasibility and desirability of pursuing Economic Development District status, BRPC applied for EDD designation on behalf of Berkshire County in late 2019. The primary purpose of an EDD is to implement the economic development activities and priorities set forth in the region’s CEDS. Berkshire County’s most recent 5-year CEDS was certified in late 2017, and is active through 2022. A 2023-2027 CEDS will be developed during 2022.
Economic Development Districts are designated by the Economic Development Administration, a bureau within the U.S. Department of Commerce. Berkshire County stands to benefit from EDD status through increased access to regional economic development funds as well as public works assistance grants for individual municipalities.
A number of requirements must be met before an Economic Development District application can be approved. Designations are reserved for regions with an EDA-approved Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS). The region must be of sufficient geographic size, contain at least one economically distressed area as defined by the EDA, and the application must have the support of at least ½ of the municipalities within the proposed district and obtain the concurrence of the state/commonwealth in which it is located.