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      Tri-States Development Summit receives special honor

      Former Quincy mayor Chuck Scholz celebrates Great Region honor from USDA.

      For the past 17 years the 35 counties that make up the Tri-State Development Summit have worked together to improve the quality of life for the region.

      Thursday the USDA recognized those years of hard work by naming it a Great Region.

      Supporters of economic growth in the Tri-State region gathered together Thursday morning for a very special event.

      The USDA has designated the Tri-State Development Summit a USDA Great Region.

      It was appropriate that former Quincy mayor Chuck Scholz gave the opening remarks considering that the Tri-State Development summit was created out of the efforts to rebuild the are after the flood of "93".

      "I thought that it would be great to get every body in one room and sort of define a common agenda," Scholz said. "But we really thought it would be a one time meeting. And now here it is 17 years later and we're planning our next summit for the spring."

      Janie Dunning is the USDA Missouri director of rural development.

      She says that the Great Regions designation means that more resources for economic development and growth will be available to the Tri-State area.

      "What we bring is the expertise that all of our agencies, staff can give them whether it's training, whether it's technical assistance, whether it's funding for individual projects they identify as they're planning," Dunning said.

      Carla Potts is the Deputy Director for Housing Development for NECAC, she was instrumental in getting the designation for the Tri-State Development summit and hopes that it will help expand many of the NECAC's programs like it home weathearization work.

      "Keeping homes warm in the winter and cool in the summer is really important and we do a lot of homes in Northeast Missouri," Potts said. "And you know hopefully this will help us grow different aspects of that."

      Partnering with former Quincy mayor Chuck Scholz in 1993, was Jim Mentesti the former Executive Director of the Great River Economic Development Foundation.

      He says he is proud of all that the Tri-State Development Summit has accomplished.

      "You've got leadership from so many small communities, big communities and so it's just been a beautiful, beautiful,success story and worth every single minute and dollar we've ever put into it," Potts said.

      Janie Dunning says the Tri-State Development Summit's long track record and willingness to try new ideas made it a perfect candidate to receive this honor.