Disaster Recovery and Resiliency Economic Development Plan (DRRE) Draft Available for Public Comment *Updated*

A 30-day comment period will commence on Tuesday, May 17 and will end on Wednesday, June 15. The Five County Association of Governments (FCAOG) is seeking comment on the draft of the Disaster Recovery and Resiliency Economic Development Plan (DRRE), which has been developed to respond to the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 Pandemic, and to prepare for future economic shocks. Main goals of this effort were to understand the impact of the pandemic on the region’s economy, identify gaps and vulnerabilities through a SWOT analysis, and prepare for future economic shocks by acknowledging opportunities for resilient growth.

The plan may also be reviewed in person at the FCAOG office at 1070 West 1600 South, Building B, St. George, UT 84770 Monday through Friday from 9 am – 5 pm

A public hearing for the DRRE Plan will be held on June 8, 2022 at 6:00 PM, where the public can make comments in person at the FCAOG St. George Office

* * * The public comment period for the DRRE Plan has closed * * *

2022 Multi Jurisdictional Natural Hazard Plan Draft Available for Public Comment

A 30-day comment period will commence on Tuesday, March 29 and will end on Thursday, April 28. The Five County Association of Governments (FCAOG) is seeking comment on the draft of the region’s Multi Jurisdictional Natural Hazard Mitigation Plan. The purpose of this plan is to increase community resilience to identified natural hazards through local action.

The FCAOG Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) must reference this plan and it is important that economic development practitioners take these hazards and mitigation efforts into consideration.

The plan may also be reviewed in person at the FCAOG office at 1070 West 1600 South, Building B, St. George, UT 84770 Monday through Friday from 9 am to 5 pm.

Please contact Alyssa Gamble at agamble@fivecounty.utah.gov or 435-673-3548 ext 117 with any questions, comments, or concerns.

Renewable Energy in Beaver County

On October 7th, FCAOG hosted a field tour of renewable energy developments and resources concentrated in Beaver County. FCAOG was thrilled to partner with the Congressional Western Caucus to host Congressmen Christ Stewart, Dan Newhouse, Markwayne Mullin, Representatives from the US Economic Development Administration, Utah Association of Counties, and the Six County Association of Governments to discuss development on public lands, tour renewable power generation facilities, and learn about current research endeavors with tremendous future potential.

Beaver County is home to a impressive concentration of renewable energy resources, with a prominent cluster located on the sprawling rangeland just outside Milford. Throughout the day we learned about the multiple wind, solar and geothermal energy production facilities and toured the Align Renewable Natural Gas facility. The Align RNG plant is a collaboration between Dominion Energy and Smithfield Farms which captures renewable natural gas (methane) from commercial hog operations for use in commercial power generation and consumer heating. This process offers a productive solution for greenhouse gases that would otherwise be released into the environment as a biproduct of hog farming. Align produces 236,000 dekatherms of RNG annually, which is enough to heat 3,000 homes and is equivalent to taking 23,000 cars off the road.

During the mobile tour, Dr. Joseph Moore presented on the Utah Frontier Observatory for Research in Geothermal Energy (FORGE), a cutting edge field laboratory where researchers can test, develop, and enhance advanced geothermal systems. FORGE is a collaboration between researchers at the University of Utah and sponsorship by U.S. Department of Energy. investigations began in 2020 after initial project construction and will run through 2024. The project is poised to eventually become a privately operated facility, creating clean, efficient, and renewable power as well as an abundance of high paying jobs for the community.

FCAOG thanks the Congressional Western Caucus, and the Offices of Congressmen Stewart, Newhouse, and Mullin for coordinating the Beaver Energy Field Tour!

EDA American Rescue Plan Programs – Investing in America’s Communities

Under the American Rescue Plan, EDA was allocated $3 billion in supplemental funding to assist communities nationwide in their efforts to build back better by accelerating the economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic and building local economies that will be resilient to future economic shocks.

This EDA investment is the largest economic development initiative from the Department of Commerce in decades and will help communities across the country build back better.

Investing in America’s Communities includes: 

  • Build Back Better Regional Challenge ($1 billion) will capitalize on American ingenuity and American workers by providing a transformational investment to regions across the country to revitalize their economies.
  • Good Jobs Challenge ($500 million) is designed to help get Americans back in good-paying jobs. The program will develop and strengthen regional workforce training systems and sector-based partnerships with a focus on programs targeted at women, people of color and historically underserved communities.
  • Economic Adjustment Assistance ($500 million) grants will help hundreds of communities across the nation plan, build, innovate, and put people back to work through projects tailored to meet local needs.  
  • Indigenous Communities ($100 million) program will work hand-in-hand with Tribal Governments and Indigenous communities to develop and execute economic development projects they need to recover from the pandemic and build economies for the future. 
  • Travel, Tourism and Outdoor Recreation ($750 million) program will focus on revitalizing the hard-hit travel, tourism, and outdoor recreation industries and accelerate the recovery of communities that rely on these sectors.  
  • Statewide Planning, Research and Networks ($90 million) grants include funding for state planning efforts as well as grants to build Communities of Practice to extend technical assistance to support EDA’s work with grantees.  

The Economic Development Team is currently working in collaboration with regional stakeholders to spearhead coordination for the Build Back Better Regional Challenge. This program is designed to build more resilient economies through the identification, development, and support of regional industry clusters. A number of industry clusters exist within the Five County EDD, therefore coordination with economic development professionals across the region will prove crucial towards identifying a cluster with the greatest potential for growth.

The five additional programs present numerous opportunities for Utah’s tourism sector, development of workforce training programs, and support for indigenous communities.

Working closely with the Disaster Recovery and Resiliency Economic Development (DRRE) Strategy Committee, FCAOG strives to coordinate the most comprehensive application of these programs across the region to achieve desired community-led development objectives. The Five County Association of Governments is committed to capitalizing on this tremendous opportunity and assisting our partners throughout the Southwest with utilizing any funds applicable in the most impactful way.

For more information on EDA’s ARPA Programs and to get your community involved contact Five County Economic Development

“The bottom line is: the American Rescue Plan meets the moment.”

President Joseph R. Biden

St. George News Spotlights DRRE Plan, Recovery and Resiliency Initiative

Economic Development Planner Nathanuel Martinez recently sat down to speak with St. George News about his role and development of the Disaster Recovery and Resiliency Economic Development Plan (DRRE). This interview was an excellent opportunity to spread the word about our growing economic development team, while highlighting the steps we are taking to speed pandemic recovery and foster economic resiliency in Southwest Utah. Read the full interview by St. George News HERE

The Five County Association of Governments values all feedback from the community. Please submit all comments on the DRRE Plan to the Economic Development Team via the community response form on our DRRE Page.

Small Business Assistance Grants

Over $200,000 in grants awarded to 42 small businesses across the region”

The Southwest region is home to Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, several State Parks, and multiple National Forests. With such an abundance of natural amenities, it is no surprise that tourism and service industries dominate the economy in Southwest Utah. As a result of the initial shutdown, spending at local restaurants, hotels and many other businesses was disrupted throughout the region. During that time, many companies struggled to keep their doors open and were unsure about their future.

The Five County Association of Governments utilized CARES Act funding funneled through the Community Development Block Grant program to award 42 small businesses across the region in the initial critical months of the pandemic. By the completion of the program, Five County awarded over $200,000 to companies in the manufacturing, food services, hospitality, and tourism industries.

The Small Business Assistance Grant is now closed, but Five County staff continue to work with local and state partners to speed economic relief and support recovery initiatives.