A CEDS, or Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy, is a roadmap to understanding the regional economy and serves as a useful guide to local decision making. It is a comprehensive planning document that acts as a blueprint to the economic development activities of a region and is a requirement for receiving Federal infrastructure funds through the Economic Development Administration (EDA) of the US Department of Commerce.
What is the Tri-County Council for the Lower Eastern Shore of Maryland (TCCLES) in relation to the CEDS?
Since 2010 the Tri-County Council has been designated a federally recognized Economic Development District (EDD) composed of Somerset, Worcester and Wicomico counties. Federal statute requires a Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) be in place before the political sub-divisions within an EDD can receive EDA public works and infrastructure funds. This designation allows local governments within the EDD to apply directly for EDA infrastructure funding up to a maximum allowable investment rate of 50%. Federal statute requires the CEDS to be updated annually as a condition to maintaining the EDD designation.
Because it is the entity designated as the EDD it is the Tri-County Council’s responsibility to facilitate the development of the CEDS for the region. To that end the Tri-County Council consults with constituents, facilitates the CEDS by hosting a Regional CEDS Committee and provides a platform for the introduction and nomination of infrastructure projects into the CEDS document. In addition, the Tri-County Council designs, updates and publishes the CEDS while interfacing with EDA on CEDS related regional infrastructure planning projects.
The 2020 CEDS ushered in specific changes in format and access not present in previous versions. It is designed in the form of a color brochure with local photographs in a marketing format with baseline statistics and short industry specific summaries, followed by goals, strategies and action plans. A supportive web-based interactive dashboard will be available in October to serve as the depository of additional data in graph and chart form. This two-tier approach creates a document that serves as a regional branding tool while at the same time building upon other digitally available data resources such as the newly created Delmarva Index now available at https://delmarvaindex.org/.
In addition, the rather general “action plans” aspect of the CEDS is currently in the process of being reoriented toward a “project-specific” format which will be supported by an online submission portal in 2023. The move toward a project-specific format will allow for closer interaction with local planners and economic development professionals in a manner calculated to reflect more accurately the priorities outlined in the CEDS.
Listed on Page 8 of the CEDS 2023-24 Brochure