The Northern Border Regional Commission, a state-federal partnership, is awarding $2.3 million in grants to three economic development projects in the Monadnock Region, the N.H. Department of Business and Economic Affairs announced Wednesday.
Keene-based Monadnock Economic Development Corp. (MEDC) will receive $1 million toward a business partnership hub at Keene State College. The town of Jaffrey was awarded $1 million for a water project. And $315,298 is going to the Hannah Grimes Center for Entrepreneurship in Keene.
They were among the eight New Hampshire projects to receive a total of $4.4 million in grants this round.
The commission was established in 2008 to aid economic and community development in parts of New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine and New York. It has five members — the four governors plus a federal representative.
Cheshire County was made eligible when Congress reauthorized the commission in 2018. The commission also includes Belknap, Carroll, Coos, Grafton and Sullivan counties in New Hampshire, and all of Vermont.
Keene State’s business hub — a joint effort between the college, community colleges, the city of Keene and manufacturing companies, as well as MEDC — is envisioned as a way to train students, connect with local businesses and boost the region’s workforce, MEDC’s president, Arthur Robert, said earlier this year.
The Jaffrey water project is a joint $12.6 million project with the town of Peterborough. Jaffrey voters approved it this year, and Peterborough signed off last year. Jaffrey’s share comes to $5.5 million, $2 million of which was expected to come from grants, according to this year’s warrant.
The Hannah Grimes Center’s grant will go toward bolstering its entrepreneurship programs and developing its annual Radically Rural conference, which The Sentinel co-hosts.
Mary Ann Kristiansen, the center’s executive director, said most of the grant money will go toward hiring a full-time director for Radically Rural. She said the goal is to expand the concept into a permanent institute, which would maintain a web presence and work year-round to connect rural communities and share ideas.