Whatcom County’s Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS)
As financial resources for economic development from all levels of government have become scarce, the need for inter-local collaboration, coordination among the various economic development agencies, and careful prioritization of proposed projects has become essential. Recognizing the efficiencies that result from such a coordinated approach, the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) and the State of Washington encourage local jurisdictions to work together to create regional economic development programs.
The Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) is a plan for Whatcom County, including its seven incorporated cities, to strengthen and sustain the regional economy. Its intent is to bring together the public and private sectors in the creation of an "economic roadmap" to diversify and strengthen the regional economy. The principal purpose of the CEDS is to facilitate the retention and creation of living-wage jobs and to foster a stable and diversified regional economy, all for the intended outcome of maintaining and, ultimately, improving the quality of life in the Region.
The EDA requires that this document be updated and approved by them, at a minimum, every five years in order for local governments to be eligible to receive certain funding for public works projects. Also, the county’s EDI Program in Whatcom County has, as one of its requirements, that fund applicants ensure their project is listed in the CEDS. The Project List is an Addendum to the CEDS document, and is updated annually.
At the request of the County Executive, the Whatcom Council of Governments prepared the 2015 Whatcom County Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) document. The 2015 CEDS was unanimously adopted by the Whatcom County Council in March 2015 and was accepted by the U.S. Economic Development Administration in April 2015.
Currently the Port of Bellingham's Economic Development Division is responsible for updates to the document. For more information, please contact Rob Fix, Executive Director, at the Port of Bellingham (RobF@portofbellingham.com) or the Whatcom County Executive office (Executive@co.whatcom.wa.us).