Monadock Vital Economies

Monadnock Vital Economies is Southwest Region Planning Commission’s new economic development planning assistance program. The aim of the program is to help communities develop plans, design policies, and implement strategies that advance locally determined economic goals. Those goals could relate directly to economic activity, such as improving local employment opportunities or attracting new businesses. Goals could also, however, speak to issues that more broadly relate to a community’s economic well-being, such as expanding housing options, increasing broadband access, or enhancing community amenities.

Assistance provided through Monadnock Vital Economies could take a number of forms, depending on the needs and goals of the participating community. Some communities may have yet to identify economic goals. In such cases, foundational planning efforts—like developing an economic development chapter within a master plan—may be the best place to start. Other communities may have already laid groundwork to achieve particular economic development objectives and may be in a position to pursue specific strategies, such as revamping land use regulations, streamlining business permitting processes, or enhancing community marketing and promotional materials. Monadnock Vital Economies can support projects such as these and others at the implementation phase of the economic development process.

Proposing a Project

Member municipalities of Southwest Region Planning Commission are encouraged to propose projects for participation in Monadnock Vital Economies. Municipalities proposing projects are welcome to coordinate with local businesses and other stakeholders when developing and submitting proposals. You can propose a project by completing the online form. It is strongly recommended that municipalities proposing projects contact SWRPC staff prior to completing the form in order to confirm project eligibility. Project proposals will be reviewed on a rolling basis, but for full consideration, proposals should be submitted by February 28, 2020. SWRPC’s ability to support proposed projects will depend on a number of factors, including the location of the project, the type of project, and the constraints of the funding sources that make Monadnock Vital Economies possible. A financial and/or in-kind match will stretch limited program funds and may improve chances of a proposal being selected and moving forward.

A Menu of Potential Economic Development Projects

Monadnock Vital Economies takes an expansive view of economic development, recognizing that factors spanning a variety of sectors can affect the local economic environment. The following list of example projects should not be interpreted as comprehensive, but rather as a sampling of some specific strategies that municipalities might consider.

In each of the projects described, Monadnock Vital Economies may play a variety of roles. From facilitating innovative public engagement strategies to crafting technical documents, the program can assist participating communities in a number of ways to move economic development strategies forward.

What are your community’s economic development goals? What types of economic activity does your community want to encourage? If the answers to these questions are hazy or if economic development planning is new to your community, then developing an economic development plan could be a good place to begin. An economic development plan could be developed as a standalone document or as a chapter of a master plan.

Zoning and other land use ordinance can sometimes pose barriers to economic development. For example, zoning often prohibits mixed land uses, limiting options for development. Monadnock Vital Economies can help communities take stock of their existing land use regulations, identifying where roadblocks exist and where there are opportunities for improvement.

Monadnock Vital Economies can assist participating municipalities identify and pursue funding and financing mechanisms to support economic development. Potential funding sources include grant programs as well as regulatory approaches like tax increment financing.

New Hampshire municipalities have a number of tax incentive programs at their disposal to encourage economic development. For example, through the Community Revitalization Tax Relief Incentive, municipalities can grant tax relief for certain building improvements in town or village centers. Monadnock Vital Economies can help evaluate the utility of tax incentive programs and provide guidance through the adoption process.

Are your community’s permitting processes easy for businesses to navigate? Do existing processes cater to a range of business types, e.g. start-ups, established companies, at-home occupations? Monadnock Vital Economies can help municipalities assess inefficiencies in current permitting processes and help develop more streamlined systems.

Is your town actively promoting itself to attract new businesses and residents? Is it effectively communicating why new businesses or residents might want to move there? Monadnock Vital Economies can help assess existing promotional resources, like a town website, and help craft strategies for more effective municipal marketing. Promotional strategies can also communicate to existing community members why they should want to stay in town.

High-speed internet is critical to maintaining economic competitiveness. Businesses require broadband to engage clients and customers, to communicate among colleagues, and to reach new markets. At-home and remote employment is becoming increasingly prevalent and relies on internet-based communication tools. Monadnock Vital Communities can act as a resource for communities looking to enhance local broadband infrastructure.

Designing streetscapes to support a range of transportation options—including walking and bicycling—can have a profound impact on the commercial and cultural vitality of a downtown area or village center. Monadnock Vital Economies can help communities link transportation infrastructure improvements to economic goals.


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