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CEO Corner

Economic development

The holiday season is quickly approaching and with it comes Thanksgiving dinners, bonfires, and getting together with friends and family. The Ozarks are becoming an even more popular destination for these fall festivities as our communities continue to grow. At White River Valley Electric Cooperative, we are excited about the growth of the area and are eager to see it continue. We see this as an opportunity for our members and the co-op.

A large part of a growing community is economic development. It only makes sense that economic development is a large part of what we do here at WRVEC. Investing in economic development leads to load growth on our system — which helps keep members’ rates low. It also builds a stronger economy for everyone in the area. There are a few different programs that we use at WRVEC to boost economic development.

The Rural Economic Development Loan & Grant (REDLG) program is the most widely used economic development tool at WRVEC’s disposal. The REDLG program allows WRVEC to secure and distribute funding from the USDA that supports projects in rural areas or towns with a population of 50,000 or less. REDLG funds have been used to help organizations of all kinds. Whether it is a startup that is new to the area or a school that needs to make improvements to their facilities, many local organizations benefit from the REDLG program.

Economic development comes in many different forms, all of which are vital to the overall health of a community. The flashiest form of economic development is probably when a new business comes into town but that is just one piece of the puzzle. Keeping existing businesses strong to support an economy that can sustain growth in the future is a huge part of the economic development process. Helping businesses secure funds for a new piece of equipment or expand to another location are just a couple of ways we can help.

Remember to eat, shop, and play local as you get together with friends and family this holiday season. We can support our community businesses and sustain the continued growth of the Ozarks.