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Center of North America Coalition (CONAC) REAP Zone

Annual Reports: 2009, 2008, 2007

Lead Entity: Center of North America Coalition (CONAC), North Dakota

Demographics: Includes the counties of McHenry, Bottineau, Rolette, Towner, Pierce and Benson; and the Indian reservations of the Turtle Mountain Chippewa outmigration and areas of high poverty. Since 1980, all except Rolette County have experienced substantial population loss, with most in excess of 20%. Rolette County, home to the Turtle Mountain Chippewa Reservation, has a poverty rate of almost 40%.

Background: North Dakota was selected as the first location to put in place a pilot program to search for ways to revitalize heavily farm dependent areas now suffering from outmigration and job loss. North Dakota is projected to lose 45,000 residents between 1990 and 2010. The agricultural production and extractive industrial within the state are in general decline. There is a perception within the state that there is inadequate support for entrepreneurial activity.

Purpose: The Rural Economic Area Partnership (REAP), as a pilot program, was established to mitigate the negative effects of outmigration and lack of employment opportunities and job losses to rural communities. REAP Zones were also established to create an environment for communities and Indian reservations, together and separately, to find strategies to solve their own problems. The outcomes and lessons learned will help USDA to assist other communities throughout rural America experiencing similar challenges.

Strategic Plan Highlights

  • Develop leadership in our communities to address needs: continue to identify and prioritize needs, conduct training in community development, form a steering committee in each county to implement a community planning process, and assist communities in creating and implementing strategic plans.
  • Create networks with organizations that provide community assistance: by compiling lists of potential community partners, communicating goals of CONAC to partners, cementing relationships with partners, and coordinating and making resources more accessible and available inside and outside the CONAC region.
  • Assist CONAC communities in their efforts to enhance quality of life: by creating a housing initiative, creating a connectivity initiative, working with secondary and post-secondary schools in the CONAC region to offer vocational and customized training for employees and employers, exploring possibilities for more health care collaboration both in and outside the region, and assisting communities in developing water systems and other infrastructure projects needed to improve the quality of life and attract new residents and businesses.
  • Increase the diversity and quality of economic opportunities in our region: by developing flexible capital fund for the CONAC region, creating a tourism initiative, and encouraging retention, expansion and start-up of entrepreneurial businesses.

Contact:

Barbara Britsch

Address:

North Central Planning Council
P.O. Box 651

Devils Lake, ND 58301

Telephone:

701-662-8131

Fax:

701-662-8132

Email:

barbncpc@gondtc.com

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Last Modified:12/14/2011 
 
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