What is the CEDS?
The Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) is a tactical economic development plan consistent with the growth policy and goals of the Regional Policy Plan , which provides a vision of the future and a framework for collaborative action. The document includes a comprehensive summary of the region's economy, including identifying regional strengths and weaknesses as well as opportunities and challenges; a five-year action plan; and a framework for evaluating progress on plan implementation.
The CEDS action plan lays out specific regional priority projects and initiatives, identified by stakeholders based on their potential impact and likelihood that they can be achieved within the five-year planning frame.
Approved by the US EDA October 16, 2019
An approved CEDS is necessary for the Cape to retain its designation as an Economic Development District and be eligible for US Economic Development Administration (EDA) funding to build infrastructure, support planning and technical assistance, and establish revolving loan funds. The CEDS framework also allows economic development stakeholders to better leverage limited regional capacity and attract outside resources to build a resilient economy.
Challenges to Economic Resilience
The EDA defines economic resilience as "positive adaptability" to disruptions and change, with little long-term loss of function or potential for growth. The challenges to Cape Cod's economic sustainability and resiliency are related to its geographic location, development patterns, and demographic profile.
The attributes that make Cape Cod a popular place to live, work, and play also make the region vulnerable to environmental degradation. Climate change, sea level rise, and increased storm intensity and frequency impact the region’s fragile coastline. Excess nitrogen impacts the region's water quality, primarily from the abundance of septic systems across the Cape.
Historic development patterns, an increasing wealth gap, a significant retiree population, and seasonality on Cape Cod have all let to housing affordability issues, further exacerbated by the limited availability of developable area due to existing development or protections. The limited capacity, availability, and age of the region's infrastructure discourages and impedes future development. All of these factors contribute to making the Cape an expensive place to live and work, further compounding and reinforce the Cape as a resort and retirement destination and challenging the ability of the year-round population to flourish.
The CEDS stakeholder process identified nine regional priorities that shaped the projects and initiatives found in the Action Plan:
Many of the individual projects that align with these initiatives are included in other subject area plans (such as the Regional Transportation Plan), or are tasks identified by partner organizations in their strategic planning efforts.
CEDS development was guided by Barnstable County Economic Development Council members, serving as the CEDS Strategy Committee; carried out by Commission staff; and contributed to by a broad range of regional stakeholders, representing the business community, key segments of the labor force, municipalities, the Mashpee Wompanoag Tribe, and other organizations with an interest in economic resiliency and development.
Regional stakeholders were instrumental in the development of the plan's vision, goals, and five-year action plan.
Changes in the regional economy are measured in three ways: regional Balanced Economy benchmarks; regional priority objectives, and EDA Distress Criteria. Commission staff are developing a set of benchmarks to track the economic well-being of the region, including the unemployment rate and per capita income used to track the EDA's distress indicators.