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Economic development assistance could be boon

  • Wilton Select Board members Bill Condra and Chair Kermit Williams discuss a economic development opportunity offered though the Nashua Regional Planning Commission during their board meeting on Monday. Staff photo by Ashley Saari



Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Wednesday, September 28, 2016 5:55PM

Wilton will be one of the first beneficiaries of an attempt by the Nashua Regional Planning Commission to develop an economic development assistance program.

Kermit Williams, who chairs the Wilton Select Board and is also a member of the Nashua Regional Planning Commission board, announced Monday that the NRCP has long believed one of the things missing from the services they provide is economic development assistance, but in the past, it also has not had the kinds of resources needed to fill that role.

“This project is the first attempt to build those resources,” said Williams.

The NRCP has received a $20,000 grant from the Community Development Finance Authority to start working with a town on an economic development strategy. Williams said he hopes that the NRCP will dovetail its efforts with another economic development opportunity the town’s Economic Development Committee is working on with the University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension. The UNH project will be surveying all of the town’s businesses and identifying areas where the town is doing well and where it needs improvement to determine future economic development opportunities.

“We need to throw everything at the wall to see what sticks,” said Williams. 

And from his perspective on the NRCP, said Williams, he wants to see those economic development programs developed for the region.

“Long term, I’d like to see that skillset available to any town that needs it,” said Williams. 

Williams said the town was not expected to match any funds, but would likely have to contribute volunteer hours, with the result of identifying some projects to assist with the town’s development.

“I imagine this will identify some low hanging fruit,” said Williams. 

A present member of the Economic Development Committee cautioned the board to ensure that the NRCP process would not be redundent to the process the EDC was currently undergoing with the UNH Cooperative Extension. While it could be highly complementary, she said, it also had the potential to be duplicative. 

Williams agreed that the EDC should be involved in whatever process the NRCP project might take, to ensure that the process would only forward the town’s efforts.

 

Ashley Saari can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 244 or asaari@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on Twitter @AshleySaariMLT.