Agencies to hold forums on economic development

The U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development and the Virginia Cooperative Extension plan to host several public forums aimed at economic development in the region.

The Northern Shenandoah Valley – Clarke, Frederick, Page, Shenandoah and Warren counties, the town of Front Royal and the city of Winchester – ranked as the third Stronger Economies Together region in 2015. Stronger Economies Together is a regional, economic improvement program aimed at enabling communities and counties in rural America to create and implement an economic development blueprint for their region that builds on current and emerging strengths.

The civic engagement forum is the first meeting in the process. The forum serves as an opportunity for residents and community leaders to participate in discussions facilitated by USDA Rural Development staff and the Cooperative Extension to evaluate data and identify economic advantages and challenges in the region.

The forum is scheduled for 2 p.m.-6 p.m., Feb. 11, in the Corron Community Development Center at Lord Fairfax Community College, 173 Skirmisher Lane, Middletown.

Organizers plan to hold four more meetings later this year.

The Stronger Economies Together technical support team includes the Virginia Tech Office of Economic Development, the Virginia Rural Center, and various agencies from the Office of the Secretary of Commerce and Trade, including the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development, Virginia Tourism Corporation, and Virginia Economic Development Partnership.