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Economic Development

Priority level identified in the Consolidated Plan: Medium

Types of projects: Economic development projects should promote a sustainable economy by providing assistance to existing small businesses located within Douglas County.

Goal: Support efforts to improve the condition and energy efficiency of housing stock in Douglas County.

Objective: Encourage the rehabilitation and improvement of currently affordable housing stock to maintain a safe, energy-efficient living environment.

The CDBG Program recognizes several key ways that economic development may be undertaken.  CDBG funds may be used to undertake certain economic development activities, such as technical assistance to businesses, microenterprise development, commercial rehabilitation, public facilities improvements, and job training.

Technical Assistance to Businesses

This activity involves providing technical assistance and training directly to businesses on topics such as business planning or accounting.  This activity may be undertaken under several different eligibility categories, assuming that the activity will meet a national objective:

  1. As part of a special economic development project;
  2. To the owner of a microenterprise;
  3. As a public service; and
  4. By a Community-Based Development Organization (CBDO) as a part of an eligible project.

Microenterprise Development

These are activities designed to foster the development, support, and expansion of microenterprise businesses.

  1. A microenterprise is defined as a commercial enterprise that has five or fewer employees, one or more of whom owns the enterprise.
  2. A “person developing a microenterprise” refers to a person who has expressed an interest and who is, or after an initial screening process is expected to be, actively working toward developing a business that will be a microenterprise at the time it is formed.
  3. Eligible microenterprise activities include the provision of:
      • Grants, loans, loan guarantees and other forms of financial support, for the establishment, stabilization, and expansion of microenterprises;
      • Technical assistance, advice, and business services to owners of microenterprises and persons developing microenterprises;
      • General support to owners of microenterprises and persons developing microenterprises including childcare, transportation, counseling, and peer support groups; and
      • Training and technical assistance, or other support services to increase the capacity of grantees or sub-recipients to carry out microenterprise activities.

Commercial Rehabilitation

These are activities that are designed to bring commercial structures up to code or improve their facades.

If the commercial structure is owned by a private, for-profit entity, the following limitations apply:

  • Rehabilitation is limited to the exterior of the building and the correction of code violations; and
  • Any other improvements are carried out under the special economic development activities category discussed above.

Public Facilities Improvements

These are public works that support economic development endeavors.  Public works facilities and improvements include infrastructure projects such as off-site water, sewer, roads, drainage, railroad spurs and other types of public facilities or improvements.

Job Training

Job training involves providing skill-building classes to employees or potential employees and can be an important part of an economic program.  This activity can be undertaken:

  • As part of a special economic development project;
  • As a public service;
  • By a CBDO as part of an eligible project; or
  • As part of the microenterprise assistance package to the owner of a micro business for his or her employees.