We are excited to announce the three community applicants we selected for the first round of our new placemaking program, Reimagining Rural Regions (R3) Initiative: Gibsonburg, Van Wert, and Marysville. As a public university for the public good, BGSU’s Division of Research and Economic Engagement and the Center for Regional Development (CRD) developed the R3 Initiative to provide expertise and capacity to assist communities to undertake a placemaking process to identify assets that could be reimagined in an effort to improve quality of life and to aid in the retention and attraction of talent. This work is partly funded by a $300,000 CARES Act grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) and the State of Ohio Rural Universities Program and seeks to help select communities in northwest Ohio reinvigorate and reimagine themselves into becoming vibrant and exciting places to live.
The Economic Development Administration (EDA) awarded CRD a $555,000 CARES Act Recovery Assistance grant to develop a workforce strategy and recovery plan for a four-county region that includes Lucas, Wood, Ottawa and Fulton Counties. The plan is to develop a set of metrics first and then develop a plan, said Dr. Russell Mills, senior director of CRD. The planning process will also result in the development of a Northwest Ohio workforce dashboard and user guide, workforce assets GIS-based mapping tool and user guide, and workforce development events calendar.
CRD provided technical assistance to the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority on their successful $2.4 million application to the Economic Development Administration (EDA) for a CARES Act Recovery Assistance Grant to create a Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) for businesses in northwest Ohio. CRD provided data, analysis, and application guidance to the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority in support of their application to EDA as part of their work under the EDA’s University Center Program. The RLF will help address the region’s weakness in access to capital for small and mid-sized businesses and will support the goals and objectives of the Toledo Region Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS).
At the 2021 State of the Region Conference, the Center for Regional Development and BGSU unveiled the Reimagining Rural Regions (R3) Initiative. The R3 Initiative, initially funded by a grant to CRD from the Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) CARES Act, is a community-led placemaking effort that is designed to leverage the expertise and capacity of BGSU faculty, students, and staff to enhance community assets to better position communities to retain and attract young workers, executives, and skilled workers.
CRD was awarded an Economic Adjustment Assistance (EAA) grant from the Economic Development Administration (EDA) to develop a comprehensive economic development strategy (CEDS) for the U.S. 30 Corridor, which includes Ashland, Crawford, Richland, and Wyandot Counties in north central Ohio. Each of the four counties partnered with CRD on the grant application and will be members of the CEDS Strategy Committee. CRD is excited to work with these communities on their CEDS and to use its economic development planning capacity to further their long-term economic and community development goals.
CRD received a $300,000 CARES Act grant to support economic and workforce development recovery strategies across a 27-county region in Northwest Ohio. This funding was provided to Economic Development Administration (EDA) University Centers (UC), including the Rural University Consortium, which is jointly operated by CRD and the Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs at Ohio University. The grant will support additional capacity for the UC, boosting its ability to help communities reimagine more resilient economies. “Our local communities are navigating never-before-seen challenges due to COVID-19,” said Dr. Russell W. Mills, senior director of CRD. “This funding is critical in allowing CRD to bring additional staff capacity and expertise on board to expand our reach and support northwest Ohio.”
Increased federal funding and state support have allowed CRD to increase its capacity and expand its reach across the region. CRD promoted one staff member, filled a new budget and operations position, and is in the process of hiring an economic recovery program coordinator. Dr. Nichole Fifer was promoted to assistant director. She previously served as an economic development program coordinator at CRD. For the new assistant to the senior director position, CRD hired another BGSU staff member, Vijaya Dasigi. She will focus on CRD’s budget and operations. CRD will soon hire an economic recovery program coordinator to lead the center’s recovery efforts. The staff also includes more graduate research assistants than usual. All of this is to keep us with all of the new and exciting projects CRD took on this year. Learn more about the CRD staff.
CRD is proud to announce our partnership with the Hospital Council of Northwest Ohio (HCNO) and ProMedica Health Systems to implement Stronger Pathways, a research study aimed at helping our partners address infant mortality in Northwest Ohio. This study will assess avenues for targeted enhancement to the Northwest Ohio Pathways HUB, a coordinated care system aimed at preventing infant mortality. Through a $270,000 Ohio Third Frontier (OTF) grant from the Ohio Department of Higher Education (ODHE), BGSU researchers will work closely with our partners and program participants to evaluate the Pathways program and HUB operations, and to identify barriers to HUB access or pathways completion. Together we aim to strengthen the Pathways HUB model to ensure greater infant vitality in our community.