Emporia included in $4 million grant to develop strategic community plan

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Published: Nov. 21, 2022 at 3:39 PM CST
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EMPORIA, Kan. (WIBW) - Emporia has been included in a $4 million USDA grant to help develop a strategic community plan for the city.

The Emporia Area Chamber of Commerce says that the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development division announced it will award $4 million in cooperative agreements to 17 organizations under its Rural Placemaking Innovation Challenge program.

The Chamber noted that RPIC provides planning support, technical aid and training to encourage placemaking activities in rural communities. It said funds can be used to help build capacity for broadband access, preserve cultural and historic structures and support the development of transportation, housing and recreational spaces.

The Chamber indicated that the USDA will award cooperative agreements to Atlas Community Studios and as well as other organizations out-of-state.

The organization noted that it, as well as the Regional Development Association of East Central Kansas, Visit Emporia and Ignite Emporia have partnered with Atlas to develop a placemaking action plan based on community engagement to help guide the investments in Emporia now and in the future. It said Atlas is a firm that specializes in strategic planning, rural economic development and governmental affairs.

“Jeanine McKenna, Lelan Dains, Sherry Harrison, and I have been working together to address the challenges and opportunities our community faces,” said Chuck Scott, President of RDA. “By partnering with Atlas Community Studios through the RPIC program, we can better engage with the community and our partners in developing a strategic plan to address these challenges and opportunities.”

The Chamber said Atlas will also provide implementation technical assistance when the planning process finishes to ensure community leaders are equipped with the resources and tools needed to execute priority projects.

“Our team at Atlas Community Studios is excited to partner with USDA, RDA, Emporia Area Chamber of Commerce, Visit Emporia, and Ignite Emporia through the RPIC program,” said Alex Holland, Vice President of Atlas Community Studios. “We appreciate USDA’s commitment to investing in place-based initiatives to better address the unique challenges and opportunities experienced in rural communities across the country.”

In addition to the grant funded by the USDA, the Chamber indicated that several local organizations have also pledged their time and financial resources to the project.

For more information about RPIC, click HERE.