USDA Awards $75K to Forward Lawrence Initiative

NEW CASTLE, Pa. – The Lawrence County Regional Chamber of Commerce has received a $74,999 grant for its Forward Lawrence initiative from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The funds, which come the agency’s Rural Business Development Grant program, will support the creation of a countywide community and economic development plan. To create the plan, the Lawrence County Chamber will be gathering stakeholders to gather input on almost all facets of life in the county, says its CEO, Alex McCoy.

“It’s important that we’re not telling people what to do. This is them telling us what they want,” McCoy told The Business Journal in June. “If we can get the necessary buy-in, we can share that load and use Forward Lawrence as a master framework for strategic partnerships between groups to align their interests.” 

The chamber has also submitted a grant application to the Appalachian Regional Commission for $50,000. Though no decision has been made yet, McCoy said in an email Monday that the application “was viewed favorably” and that the organization should hear the results soon.

Already contributing funding are the Lawrence County Commissioners, which committed $12,500, as well as $10,000 through the county’s Industrial Development Authority. In total, including the USDA grant, the chamber has secured $123,999.

“One of the things I think our county has been lacking is a unified vision of how to proceed in terms of business attraction,” said Commissioner Morgan Boyds. “Forward Lawrence is a way to identify what we’re good at, what we’re not good at and how to target our business attraction efforts to those best suited for Lawrence County. We’ve never had that level of planning as it related to economic development before.” 

Related Coverage

June 22, 2020: Infrastructure Projects Lead Growth in Lawrence County

Sept. 28, 2019: Lawrence County Chamber to Launch ‘Forward Lawrence’

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