Tioga County Rural Economic Area Partnership, LDC (REAP) continues to provide a service to municipalities and businesses within Tioga County that might not otherwise find a source of financial assistance. REAP’s vision is to help citizens bring about change in their communities that will revitalize the local economy and improve the quality of life for all Tioga County residents. Its program facilitates local citizen efforts to organize, plan, and carry out their own community projects identified through broad community input.
REAP was incorporated approximately 17 years ago with the objective of helping local municipalities and businesses find a source of funding for various municipality improvements and capital for business development and growth. It is one of the many non-profit organizations serving Tioga County and is a member of the Tioga County Non-Profit Network (TCNN).
One of the early and most recognized investments is the dental van which was purchased with REAP support, and which has improved the quality of life for many school children in the county.
REAP achievement continues today with the recent support to businesses across Tioga County such as Reed Brook Meats in the Town of Barton, Farmhouse Brewery in the Towns of Newark Valley and Owego, and the Technology Research Council (TRC) in the Town of Nichols. Financial assistance from REAP has allowed these business to develop, grow and create jobs.
In addition, assistance from REAP has allowed municipalities to improve their infrastructure with a variety of projects such as new fire stations, public water systems, playground and park development, miscellaneous equipment, etc.
REAP depends on the Rural Development (RD), U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) as frequent sources of grant opportunities, and REAP collaborates with other entities such as the Southern Tier East Regional Planning Board, Tioga County Economic Planning and Development, and Cornell Cooperative Extension to maximize these opportunities. REAP grant applications generally qualify for special consideration by USDA and result in more favorable terms for the applicant.
Although REAP no longer receives financial assistance in federal dollars for paid administrative help, it continues to function with a core of dedicated volunteers with the goal of maintaining the original vision. It relies on dues paid by the town governments to cover the cost of insurance, tax preparation, office supplies and other incidental items.
Each town and village in the county is entitled to a have a member on the REAP board as well as the County. Additionally, there are members “at large” who support such areas as Housing Services, Youth Services, Emergency Services, Human Services, Infrastructure and Agriculture.
For general questions or to volunteer, inquiries may be made by contacting their representative for assistance, contacting the REAP office at 56 Main St. in Owego, by calling (607) 687-8258, or Dick Harrington, president, at (607) 657-4480.
The Tioga County Non-Profit Network is a grassroots effort to bring together leaders from non-profit organizations to address common interests and to better serve the people of Tioga County. TCNN typically meets every other month on the 4th Wednesday from noon to 1:30 p.m.