The Southwest Region Planning Commission has been awarded a $349,160 federal grant that it will put toward updating an economic development strategy last revised six years ago.
U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen’s office announced the grant — which comes from the federal CARES Act, via the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration — in a news release Friday morning.
The funding will help SWRPC update its Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy, a large document that analyzes local economic conditions, identifies possible development projects and outlines a strategy for pursuing those initiatives, according to the release. The Keene-based nonprofit, which is one of nine regional planning commissions in New Hampshire and covers Cheshire County as well as parts of Hillsborough and Sullivan counties, last updated its strategy document in 2015.
SWRPC helps municipalities in the region manage planning issues. That assistance can include master planning, site plan review, capital improvement planning, subdivision reviews and technological support, the organization says on its website.
Shaheen, a New Hampshire Democrat, helped secure the Economic Development Administration grant through her position on the Senate Appropriations Committee, the release states. (Shaheen will serve as chairwoman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies, her office announced Friday morning.)
“Organizations like the Southwest Region Planning Commission provide valuable assistance to the Granite State areas they serve, helping communities make important decisions on health care, housing, land use and so much more,” she said in the release. “This federal funding will allow the Southwest Region Planning Commission to make good on one of their most important duties — creating a new, comprehensive economic development strategy that will serve as a blueprint for a stronger, more vibrant Keene and Monadnock regional economy, which is especially critical as communities fight through the COVID-19 pandemic.”