Fed agency OKs SeCTer project

A federal agency has approved the region's comprehensive economic-development plan, which will help determine future funding of infrastructure projects to benefit southeastern Connecticut's economy.

The Economic Development Administration, which is part of the U.S. Commerce Department, earlier this month approved the Regional Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy, or CEDS, which was produced by the New London-based Southeastern Connecticut Enterprise Region, also known as SeCTer.

The comprehensive economic-development report will serve as an important strategic planning tool for this region's economy. The federal agency requires that regions across the country prepare a comprehensive development plan every five years.

Deborah Donovan, SeCTer's director of economic development and marketing, said Tuesday that the CEDS document serves as an important blueprint for the region's various municipalities and organizations in planning sustainable economic development over the next five-year period. The federal Economic Development Administration requires such a document for federal funding toward economic-development projects, and the state Department of Economic and Community Development requires it for grant making within a region. The state agency also must review and approve the economic development plan.

Donovan said the federal agency, which approved the CEDS report on Jan. 5, praised the cooperation shown in compiling and preparing the extensive economic-development report.

In its letter of approval, the Economic Development Administration said the CEDS report provides " a wealth of information about the region. It also illustrates a very proactive process that includes not only stakeholders, but citizens of the region."

Mark Oefinger, chairman of the board for SeCTer, welcomed the federal approval of the economic-development report. "SeCTer's board of directors, acting as the CEDS Strategy Committee, is very pleased to have received this approval from EDA, particularly since the turnaround time from its submission on December 5, 2011, to its approval was a very quick two weeks," he said.

"The comprehensiveness of our regional CEDS was made possible by the engagement and input of several hundred stakeholders, businesses and citizens of the region, and EDA recognized this as a particular strength in our report," Oefinger said in prepared remarks announcing the federal approval.

The CEDS report is available for downloading from SeCTer's website at www.secter.org.

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