Economic Development District
The ARPC serves as the Economic Development District (EDD) for the Apalachee Region. An EDD is a designated planning office that is funded by the U.S. Department of Commerce, Economic Development Administration to provide technical assistance for application processing, administration of awarded projects, and identification of regional funding opportunities. ARPC staff assists communities and development interests with economic analyses, grant opportunity information, as well as preparation and administration of financial assistance grants to support developments that create or retain high paying jobs.
The EDD must provide an annual report of the economic development activities in the Region, as well as semi-annual progress reports. This is accomplished with the cooperation of the economic development departments/staff within each county and municipality, as well as other economic development organizations.
The ARPC provides direct and specific assistance to public, nonprofit, and private entities in the Region to address local economic concerns. This economic development assistance is provided to local governments in the form of economic analyses, staff support, research, federal grant and loan preparation, strategic plans development, and other related activities.
The primary functions of the EDD include, but aren’t limited to:
- Preparing and maintaining the Region’s Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS)
- Assist with implementation strategies identified in the CEDS
- Provide technical assistance to local governments and economic development organizations on their economic development activities, programs, and grant applications
The CEDS is completely updated every five years through a comprehensive planning process that addresses the needs of the entire Region. On a time available basis, ARPC staff provide intermediate updates to data tables to ensure that the document is useful to our member local governments. The ARPC staff ensures that private, public, and community interests are represented in the composition of the CEDS Committee. The CEDS was reformatted around the Six Pillars of Economic Development in 2012. The Six Pillars paradigm was adopted by the Florida Chamber of Commerce as a framework for establishing metrics that assess the goals and successes of a community or region’s economic health and responsiveness. The Apalachee Region’s Six Pillars Scorecard provides metrics for the Apalachee Region.
- Analyzes regional economy & guides regional goals & objectives.
- Creates a road map to economic diversity through private sector investment and job creation.
- Serves as vehicle to justify and draw down federal funds.
- Identifies key investments, opportunities, and projects in the Region
- Identifies target clusters for the Region
Coordination with State and Regional Agencies
In 2012, Florida’s newly created Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) was charged with creating a strategic plan for economic development. With the aid of Florida’s Regional Planning Councils and the Florida Chamber of Commerce, DEO facilitated a dozen meetings across the state. A new strategic plan was prepared and adopted later that year. The plan was updated to include tactics and metrics for state agencies in April of 2013. The ARPC’s economic development activities strive to align with the goals and objectives of the plan.
ARPC staff meet regularly with other state, regional, county and community organizations to maintain an overall perspective of activities that will affect the future economic health of our Region. Some of the Council’s partner organizations include:
- Department of Economic Opportunity
- Enterprise Florida
- Rural Economic Development Initiative
- Opportunity Florida
- Florida’s Great Northwest
- County Economic Development Organizations
- Capital Region Transportation Planning Agency
- Chambers of Commerce
- RiverWay South
- Big Bend Scenic Byway
Other Economic Development Activities:
In addition to its duties as the EDA’s regional representative, ARPC staff are knowledgeable and proficient in working with the Department of Economic Opportunity’s Community Development Block Grant Program (CDBG), Rural Infrastructure Fund grants, USDA’s Rural Development programs.
Some projects like Port St. Joe’s new Sacred Heart on the Gulf Hospital or the City of Apalachicola’s Scipio Creek commercial marina upgrades require combining grant funding from multiple sources to successfully finance public infrastructure projects. We stand ready to maintain discrete but knowledgeable contact with project principals and community leaders to bring projects to completion.
For more information on the ARPC’s Economic Development activities, please contact Bruce Ballister at (850) 488-6211 ext. 100.