Program to Support Regional Economic Development Launched in Tioga County


Tom Bailey, President of Tioga REAP, announced Wednesday that Tioga REAP was awarded the USDA Rural Business Opportunity Grant to work with Tioga County and the greater Southern Tier communities on a regional economic program.
The Sustainable Tioga 2011 program will utilize a training program called Stronger Economies Together (SET) recently developed by USDA Rural Development and the nation’s Regional Rural Development Centers to support rural economic development through regional cooperation.
SET will feature nine monthly training sessions, online discussion forums, specialized data analysis, technical assistance and the practice of regional economic development skills.
Special emphasis will be placed on the feasibility of developing a bioenergy cluster in Tioga County and the greater Southern Tier.
Designed to develop strategic economic strategies, Tioga Dept. of Economic Development and Planning, Cornell Cooperative Extension and Cornell University Community and Regional Development Institute will partner with Tioga REAP to connect participates with resources and networking opportunities with community and business leaders from across the region.
Thomas B. Hauryski, Business Programs Specialist, USDA Rural Development, Bath, NY, attended the event on behalf of Jill Harvey, New York State Director for USDA Rural Development, and commented on the diverse programs designed to meet unique challenges of rural communities.
In particular, Hauryski noted that USDA’s Renewable Energy For America Program in Fiscal Year 2010, invested over $1.7 million in grants and $1.2 million in guaranteed loans assisting over 77 renewable energy projects in New York.
One of the key aspects of a successful outcome of this initiative will depend on “forging strong partnerships with various resources we have in our region” said Andy Fagan, Executive Director of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tioga and Chemung counties.
Tioga REAP is one of only five USDA designated REAP Zones in the nation and its latest effort carries the mission to revitalize rural economies.
“With this innovative initiative, the Tioga REAP will continue to advance economic recovery in the region,” stated Congressman Maurice Hinchey (D-NY).
“I am very pleased to have helped secure USDA’s support for this program and I encourage anyone interested in bio-energy and sustainable economic development to participate.”
The initiative will be looking to engage a diverse cross section of the community.
For additional program information contact Lois Kang at 607-734-4453 or visit:

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