Community & Economic Development

Dependable water and sewer. Safe septic systems. Affordable housing.
Job creation. Workforce training and retraining. A diverse economy.

Since 1965, the Southwestern Commission (SWC) has worked to assist our member governments as they seek to improve both the quality of life and the economy in our region’s communities. We do this through regional economic development, by providing much needed short-term working capital financing, partnering with others to fund regional projects, and providing much needed data and demographics to further improve our region and plan for the future.

 

MOUNTAINWEST PARTNERSHIP

The MountainWest Partnership is a regional economic development marketing initiative for the seven far western counties in North Carolina, Western Carolina University, and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI). Guided by local assets and strengths, the partnership's efforts aim to tell the true story of what it's like to do business in the region, and to connect people and businesses with the resources they need to be successful.

 

For more information, visit gownc.org.

REVOLVING LOAN FUND

The Southwestern Commission (SWC) is the Development District serving the seven western counties of North Carolina (Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Haywood, Jackson, Macon and Swain Counties).  SWC’s Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) is an economic development tool to assist in the creation of jobs in local business and industry by offering short-term fixed asset, equipment and working capital financing that is available in the seven western counties of NC.  It is jointly funded by the Appalachian Regional Commission, the Economic Development Administration, the State of North Carolina, and the Southwestern Commission.

RESOURCES

RLF Brochure 2014
SWC Revolving Loan Fund Operating Plan 2014

FUNDING & PARTNERING AGENCIES

The SWC receives funding through several agencies, including the Economic Development Administration (EDA) and the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC). The SWC has been identified by the EDA as an Economic Development District (EDD), and each EDD can be eligible for EDA funding for the purpose of economic development within the region.  Every several years, the SWC creates a Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS), which serves to identify goals as well as strategies to accomplish those goals in the region, and the SWC reports back annually about the organization’s success in completing these goals and strategies.

The SWC also serves as one of 73 designated Local Development Districts (LDDs) under the ARC. LDDs are in place to ensure that ARC funds are used effectively and efficiently and also to strengthen local participation within the district. The most important role, however, is to identify priority needs of local communities, and to work with board members and other local citizens to develop plans for economic develop within communities and to build community unity and leadership.

The following is a list of several of the organizations with whom we partner

ARC- Appalachian Regional Commission
NC Department of Commerce
EDA- Economic Development Administration
NCDOT- North Carolina Department of Transportation
USDA- United States Department of Agriculture
Member Governments
County Economic Developers
Smoky Mountain Host
Advantage West
Conservation & Non-profit Partners
The Cherokee Preservation Foundation
The Community Foundation
The Sequoyah Fund

GEOGRAPHIC INFORMATION SYSTEM

The Southwestern Commission has in-house GIS capacity.  We serve as a regional clearinghouse of GIS data for the seven western counties, and offer technical services to our member governments upon request.  Most of our GIS work in recent years has focused on asset mapping and assisting policy makers with land use regulations.  Every county in the region now has a GIS managed land parcel database system.

CLICK ON THE COUNTY NAME BELOW TO ACCESS ITS GIS DEPARTMENT

Cherokee
Clay
Graham
Haywood
Jackson
Macon
Swain

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT DATA

Our region’s economy and demographics are vital to our long term success and prosperity. Our partners rely on us for data that will assist in securing funding for projects and programs. Below is a sampling of reports that we have and do provide to our partners. If you don’t see what you need, please contact us for more information at 828.586.1962.

Regional Retail Leakage
Building Activity & Business Patterns
Income & Unemployment
County Demographics
Top Employers by County
Industry Employment and Tourism Revenue Data
Education data
Crime Rate data

Additional Resources:

Funding Resources List Grants
CEDS: Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy for Region 

2017 CEDS Summary

MountainWest Partnership 

Opt-In Regional Vision Volume 1