|Aug 01, 2011 --
The City of Fresno is surrounded by several small, rural communities that make up Fresno County. Although this county leads the state, and much of the nation, in agriculture production many of its communities struggle with basic needs. The City of Fresno has identified several goals to improve economic development throughout the city; yet struggled to indentify appropriate funding.
Fresno was recently selected to participate in the Obama Administration’s new "Strong Cities, Strong Communities" (SC2) initiative, which brings together more than a dozen federal agencies to work with local governments to encourage economic growth and community development. Strategic partnerships among agencies such as the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Transportation, Environmental Protection Agency, and others are working to break down traditional silos and identify ways to partner more effectively.
Rural Development supported the initiative with three grants totaling $324,105. Funds were provided through the Rural Community Development Initiative Program (RCDI) and the Rural Business Enterprise Grant Program (RBEG) to assist with a variety of trainings for Fresno County businesses and communities.
The combined efforts of federal agencies working with the local government, the private sector and other organizations are expected to help Fresno implement their goals for economic growth. As Fresno redevelops its downtown, improves transportation opportunities and adult education it will also strengthen its connection to the many surrounding rural communities. As a result, the entire region will become more attractive to residents and investors, leading to more local economic development.
If the pilot project works in the selected cities, it is expected to expand to other cities throughout the nation.
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