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City of Canton Centennial Plaza

Economic Development Planning

NEFCO’s regional economic development planning program strives to grow the region’s economy through collaborative planning efforts with public and private, regional and local economic development entities.  

NEFCO is one of two entities in northeast Ohio having been designated as an Economic Development District (EDD) by the U.S. Department of Commerce, Economic Development Administration (EDA). As an EDD for the region, NEFCO receives EDA funding to manage the Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS).  The CEDS is a strategy-driven plan for regional economic development. The CEDS is the result of a regionally-owned planning process designed to build capacity and guide the economic prosperity and resiliency of an area or region. 

In addition to maintaining the CEDS, NEFCO’s regional economic development planning program encompasses many different activities.  Staff is involved in various projects that address land use planning, economic strategy and adjustment, comprehensive planning, brownfields, unemployment trends and Census updates. Additionally, staff can provide technical assistance with project identification, funding source identification and grant preparation guidance.   


Economic Development FAQs

The first step in applying for an EDA grant is to contact NEFCO with your project idea. Projects must be consistent with the regional CEDS. Contact Nick Lautzenheiser.

NEFCO does not distribute grant funding. NEFCO can provide technical assistance in certain situations. 

A Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) is a locally-based, regionally-driven economic development planning process and document that successfully engages a range of partners, including community leaders and residents, Economic Development Districts (EDDs), tribes, the private sector, educational institutions, and other stakeholders in planning for your region’s future.  For more information visit: CEDS Central

Yes! NEFCO’s CEDS can be found here

Qualified opportunity zones were created by the federal 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and designed to spur economic development by bringing private investment to areas that might otherwise have difficulty attracting it. To access the Opportunity Zone Tool visit: Opportunity Zones

Economic Development Districts (EDDs) are multi-jurisdictional entities, commonly composed of multiple counties and in certain cases even cross-state borders. They help lead the locally-based, regionally driven economic development planning process that leverages the involvement of the public, private and non-profit sectors to establish a strategic blueprint (i.e., an economic development roadmap) for regional collaboration. For more information visit: Economic Development Districts (EDDs)

Ohio EPA cannot legally issue a Permit-to-Install (PTI) for wastewater projects that are in conflict with a 208 Plan.  Doing so would be a violation of the federal Clean Water Act and Ohio Revised Code.  Examples of projects that require a PTI from Ohio EPA are wastewater treatment plant upgrades and expansions, and sanitary sewer extensions.  New residential and commercial development often requires a PTI from Ohio EPA since sanitary sewer extensions are often neededand in some cases, wastewater treatment plant upgrades and expansions are also needed to transport and properly treat the resulting wastewater stream.  Please visit Clean Water Plan Overview for additional information. 



No, but NEFCO does use collaboration to demonstrate the shared positive impact that our recommendations can have on affected counties and/or local governments.

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