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Weakley County to benefit from 3-Star

Weakley County to benefit from 3-Star
Weakley County has once again been declared a Three Star community under Gov. Phil Bredesen’s three-star program.
“The Three Star program either directly or indirectly impacts every citizen in Weakley County. Cooperation from our cities and county governments, special committees, businesses and organizations with total participation make this program a success,” Weakley County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Barbara Virgin commented.
Throughout the year, the Weakley County Chamber of Commerce coordinates and facilitates the certification that is needed by the county for the Three Star program.
“The certification process is an annual project maintaining many hours of dedication and work. The Chamber collects data from the communities in areas of government, development, education, health, industry, business and leadership programs throughout the county, submits for review all paperwork to the Regional Economic Development Specialist. After an extensive annual audited review the report card results declare Three Star certification.”
The status of Three Star community allows the municipalities and governments to receive additional points when applying for additional Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) and Fast Track grants.
“These grants are very competitive and often communities lose grant funds by one or two points. The match we must pay is reduced because of our participation in Three Star. Our participation has especially paid off the past few years in savings on CDBG and fast Track money estimated at approximately $1,616,000,” Virgin said. The county’s status as a Three Star program allows it to receive reduced match and higher loan limits on CDBG and Fast Track monies, which is a monetary saving incentive of the Three Star program.
All cities within the county, as well as the county, are once again eligible for Economic Community Development Grants including Downtown Development and Main Street programs.
CDBG grants are primarily used for infrastructure and development of water and sewer lines. Fast Track grants are used for the economic development and industry site/expansion and recruitment.
A community must meet six basic requirement programs to qualify for certification: Adult Leadership program (Leadership Weakley County), Health Care Committee, Existing Industry, Education Committee, Enhanced Website and Community Emergency Preparedness.
There are three Benchmarks to achieve: Benchmark I _ Assessment _Where are we?; Benchmark II – Plan for the Future – Where do we want to go?; Benchmark III – Implement. Each benchmark is focused on actions in five key areas of development.
Weakley County must submit a five-year asset-based strategic plan, establish priorities, prepare effective measurable actions, responsibilities, estimate a time line, endorse the plan, implement the plan and measure the outcome.
The Strategic Plan was recently approved by the Weakley County Commission for 2010-11. It is available online at www.weakleycountytn.gov.
The Governor’s Conference will include the counties’ awards ceremony for the Three Star recognition at the Nashville Convention Center on Sept. 16 and 17. Contact the official Governor’s Conference website at ecd.communications.office@tn.gov for reservations or more information.
WCP 7.15.10

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