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Posts Tagged ‘Northern Border Regional Commission’

Northern Border Regional Commission Grant Applications Available March 1

Wednesday, March 1st, 2017

Applications for grants from the Northern Border Regional Commission are now available. Created by the US Congress in 2008, the NBRC’s mission is to help alleviate economic distress and encourage job creation throughout the northern regions in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and New York. The deadline is June 2.


Within New Hampshire, the commission’s grant programs cover Coos, Grafton, Carroll and Sullivan counties. Information sessions will be held from 1-3 pm, March 29 at the CSB Community Center, Claremont, and 1-3 pm April 7 at the Wolfeboro Town Hall, and 1-3 pm at the North Country Resources Center, Lancaster.


Christine Frost

Eligible grant projects must develop the transportation, water, sewer, energy and telecommunications infrastructure of the region; assist the region in obtaining job skills and employment related education, as well as entrepreneurship, technology and business development; provide basic health care and other public services for those areas that are severely economically distressed and underdeveloped; promote resource conservation, tourism, recreation, and preservation of open spaces in a manner consistent with economic development goals and to promote the development of renewable and alternative energy sources.

Chris Way

Applications from New Hampshire agencies and organizations must be submitted to the state’s Division of Economic Development for processing. The division will also provide technical assistance to applicants. After the ranking is completed, the governors of the four states will certify to the commission their priority projects.

Mollie Kaylor

New Hampshire applicants should contact Mollie Kaylor of the NH Division of Economic Development at (603) 271-2591.

North Conway and Ashland: Catching Up with Some Recent Northern Border Regional Commission Grant Recipients

Wednesday, August 31st, 2016
NBRC

On the Road with Northern Border Regional Commission Grant Recipients

Commissioner Jeffrey Rose and Deputy Director Chris Way joined federal and local officials in North Conway and Ashland last week for a look at two projects receiving grants this year from the Northern Border Regional Commission.

At the site of the future expansion of the New England Ski Museum, they were briefed on the expansion getting started; the museum received a $100,000  grant from the NBRC. In Ashland, which received a $250,000 grant, they heard about plans to increase capacity at the town’s wastewater plant.

As diverse as these projects are, both will contribute the infrastructure of their communities and boost economic development.

These projects were two of 13 receiving the grants from the NBRC, which distributes grants each year to northern communities in New York, Vermont, Maine and New Hampshire. Communities located in Coos, Carroll, Sullivan and parts of Grafton County are eligible to apply.

Created by the US Congress in 2008, the NBRC’s mission is to help alleviate economic distress and encourage job creation throughout the northern regions in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and New York. The New Hampshire Division of Economic Development provides technical assistance and processes grant applications submitted for consideration. For more information about the next round of NBRC grants, contact Way at 271-2341 or visit www.NBRC.gov .

 

New Hampshire Projects Awarded Northern Border Regional Commission Grants

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2016

Twelve New Hampshire projects will receive grants, totaling over $1.5 million, from the Northern Border Regional Commission to spur economic and community development in the North Country and Upper Valley.

Announced Aug. 2 by Gov. Hassan and US Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, the recipients are:

  • The New Hampshire Department of Resources and Economic Development; $42,000 supporting the creation of a five-year economic development strategy for New Hampshire, aligning economic development resources across agencies and organizations to address the state’s most pressing economic development needs;
  • The Town of Northumberland; $200,000 to build critical water and sewer infrastructure at the former Groveton mill;
  • The Town of Littleton; $110,000 to construct one mile of multi-modal trail connecting an existing regional system within the River District Revitalization project;
  • The Grafton Regional Development Corp.: $50,000 for improvements at the Enterprise Center in Plymouth, including the completion of an office suite, which will assist the center to incubate and build more startup businesses;
  • The New England Ski Museum; $100,000 to renovate the former North Conway Community Center into a branch of the museum;
  • The Town of Ashland Water and Sewer Department; $250,000 to help fund a new septage receiving station, which will help revitalize the town’s mill area;
  • River Valley Community College; $50,000 to for renovations to the Lebanon Academic Center;
  • The City of Berlin; $250,000 for the construction of the first phase of a multi-use trail and river walk adjacent to the Androscoggin River;
  • The University of New Hampshire; $145,000 to continue the efforts of the NH Broadband Mapping and Planning program to accommodate mapping and analysis in northern New Hampshire, collect local data, extend speed test promotional efforts, and deliver three technical assistance workshops;
  • Solider On; $250,000 to assist in the creation of a 52 units of affordable, service enriched, permanent housing for veterans;
  • Tri-County CAP; $60,500 to expand the Friendship House in Bethlehem, a residential program that services low-income people recovering from substance use disorders;
  • Friends of Wentworth Park; $42,500 for the relocation and completion of a restored historic wooden covered bridge over the Baker River Falls;
  • Eastern Slope Airport, Fryeburg, Maine; $250,000 to build an aircraft hangar to attract new seasonal visitors and outside investors. Although in Maine, New Hampshire’s state partners were impressed by the project’s heavy economic impact on the Mount Washington Valley. This is a multi-state application in which the Eastern Slope Airport also applied for $250,000 from Maine’s NBRC allotment.

5 Questions with Chris Way, on Northern Border Regional Commission Grants

Friday, March 18th, 2016

The Northern Border Regional Commission is a federal-state partnership with a mission to encourage economic development across a four-state region, including New Hampshire. Each year, grants are awarded to projects that reflect that mission. Eligible counties include Carroll, Coos, designated areas in Grafton, and Sullivan Counties. Our deputy director, Chris Way, coordinates applications and today talks about what you need to know to apply.

Chris Way

Chris Way

1. The call is out now for the next round of grants offered annually by the Northern Border Regional Commission. For the past several years, you have coordinated the applications put forth by New Hampshire agencies and organizations. Can you tell us about the eligibility requirements to apply?

First, you do have to have a project that is eligible portions of the state, namely Sullivan, Coos, Grafton and Carroll. Grafton is a little more restrictive this year as only certain communities are eligible (called isolated areas of distress).

Next, you have to be a municipal, state or nonprofit entity. Private businesses are not eligible. That’s not to say there cannot be collaboration; it’s just that the grant can’t be a pass through to private companies.

Third, and not to state the obvious, you need to have a project that will actually work and can be done as proposed. Can you finish the project in the time allotted? Will you be able to secure the matching funds needed? Do you have the approvals necessary to make it work? We, and NBRC, focus on these issues, because with such limited funds, we need to make sure that projects can move as proposed and money spent wisely.

If you have questions about eligibility, particularly if you are in Grafton County, go to the website or call me.

2. What’s new this year about the process?  

The program has certainly evolved over time, and this year, several exciting things are happening.

The NBRC has listened to the states and have a new website with online applications, forms and information on past grants. I am really pleased to see that FAQs are available online, because it was clear from previous cycles that all applicants had many of the same questions and challenges. Not only does it mean that New Hampshire applicants work with the same information, it also means that all four states, including New York, Vermont and Maine, are talking from the same playbook. The application is not hard, but many applicants in the past have stated that more published information would certainly make the process easier. This is also going to be reinforced with county-wide information sessions; the first one will be from 2 to 4 pm, April 1, at the 5th Circuit Court Probate Court Room, third floor, at 14 Main St., Newport. Stay tuned for others.

Did I mention more money available this year? It looks like we will be able to fund more projects with $1.7 million for each state. The $250,000 limit remains, but it does provide the grant review team with more flexibility. In fact, we had more money last year than the previous, and we were able to fully or partially fund seven great projects.

Finally, it’s also reassuring for me to know that NBRC staff stands ready to assist and partner with us on projects. These folks are passionate about the program and it has truly shown this year. Christine Frost, formerly of the North Country Council, recently joined the agency, which has really upped the game for the NBRC grant administration and its awareness of the issues in our eligible counties. The NBRC team has also done a bang up job to encourage all of our states to communicate and supportive of projects that benefit the Northern borders region.

3. What makes a good project for a Northern Borders Regional Commission grant?  

Tell a good story! Tell us how your project will create jobs, improve tourism or have a regional impact. Why should your project be a priority for the state? Will it increase the workforce, create infrastructure, promote tourism or result in new businesses?

Let me offer a brief word on application size and letters of support. Sometimes we receive applications with huge packets of information. All well and good, but remember a concise packet that hits the high points and tells the story has as much an impact as stacks of information. Local support is certainly welcome, as are the key letters from all of the partners involved in the project, but strong thoughtful letters of support can be just as good as many letters saying the same thing. I guess what I am saying is that we tend to focus on the cake, and not just the frosting.

Everybody always wants to know how projects get decided. Once projects are deemed eligible, the packages are scored by a committee based on several criteria. Recommendations are made to the commissioner of the Department of Resources and Economic Development, who then makes recommendations to the governor.

Knowing that, what makes one project better than another? Often, we get really good projects, but they may be focused on a small group who will enjoy the results, or the results are hard to predict or assess. While they are definitely eligible, it can be difficult to rise to the top when there are other projects making a better case for regional and even statewide economic benefits. And no matter what, job creation is always a strong factor.

On the flip side, be realistic – don’t predict multitudes of jobs created if you can’t back it up with a convincing argument. Don’t offer matching funds proposals that cannot be realized come time to sign the contract. We’re going to be doing more work this year on assessing the past results and we all want great stories to tell.

4. Can you give one or two examples of projects that made a difference in their communities/regions?

Sure. We just visited one in Lebanon. Last year, River Valley Community College received a grant and one year later, the inside of the building looks fantastic. The applicants did exactly what they said they were going to do, and I have no doubt the project will be successful.
Another one is the Grafton County Enterprise Center in Plymouth. Business incubators are attractive contributors to the economy and can make great projects.

And while we’re talking about successes, I also have high hopes for the Groveton mill site and its water and sewer project. That’s just about completed and will be a key piece for this high priority development site.

5. For the person/agency in Coos, Carroll, Sullivan and selected communities in Grafton Counties with a project that could benefit from a Northern Borders Regional Commission grant, what should they do next?

Don’t keep your project a secret. Let us know about it so we can talk it out with you. We want to get all projects to a point of eligibility. We don’t want waste your time, but we don’t want potential great projects to be left on the table.

For more information, contact Way via email or call 271-2341.

GCEDC Receives $225,000 Commission Grant to Build Business Incubator

Monday, November 7th, 2011

The partnership to develop a business incubator in Plymouth received a hearty boost upon the news that the Grafton County Economic Development Council (GCEDC) received $225,000 for construction purposes.  The grant, from the Northern Border Regional Commission, will be used to leverage federal funds that could complete the project by mid-2013.

GCEDC Executive Director Mark Scarano

Since 2010, the GCEDC has partnered with Plymouth State University and others to develop a business incubator in Plymouth.  The incubator, called the Enterprise Center at Plymouth, will provide support services to new and growing entrepreneurial companies from around central New Hampshire.  The services include networking with other companies and equity funders, mentoring, technical assistance, and, in many cases, leased space to launch businesses. 

As its role in the partnership, Plymouth State University will provide the services and staffing to assist the companies.  The GCEDC will be responsible for providing flexible space for companies as they grow.  Typically, incubators will provide space and assistance for up to thee years, or until a company is financially viable.

The Northern Border Regional Commission funds will be used to redevelop 149 Main Street, Plymouth.  Currently vacant, the building holds promise, because of its location and proximity to PSU’s Small Business Institute, to continually develop new innovative companies.  Thanks to the Commission’s funding, the GCEDC can now apply for federal funds that, if successful, will allow the organization to create a second floor on the one story structure.  

“We’re extremely pleased that the Northern Border Commission joins us in seeing the strong economic development potential in the Enterprise Center at Plymouth,” stated GCEDC Executive Director Mark Scarano.  “These funds were crucial in allowing us to move forward with the project.”

PSU President Sara Jayne Steen was also pleased to hear the news. “The partnership to develop the Enterprise Center at Plymouth is an important step for expanding PSU’s award winning entrepreneurial education capacity in the region.  PSU’s Small Business Institute has assisted hundreds of businesses over its 30 year history.  Now, thanks to our partnership with the GCEDC and support of the Northern Border Regional Commission, we are closer to being able to offer a real estate component to its services.”

The New Hampshire Department of Resources and Economic Development took an early lead in promoting the Enterprise Center at Plymouth project to the Commission.  “Governor Lynch strongly supports efforts to develop programs that support entrepreneurs as they start and grow,” stated DRED Commission George Bald. “I’m glad that we could play a part in helping this economic development project move forward to completion.”

Created by Congress in 2009, the Northern Border Regional Commission is a federal-state partnership that provides funding to economic development, transportation, infrastructure and conservation projects in the northeast’s northern forest region.