The Bel-O-Mar Regional Council (Bel-O-Mar) is an interstate regional planning and development council of governments whose service area includes Ohio, Marshall, and Wetzel
Counties in West Virginia and Belmont County in Ohio. Bel-O-Mar’s three West Virginia counties make up the state’s Region 10 planning council as shown in Figure 1 below. The U.S.
Economic Development Administration has also designated Bel-O-Mar as an Economic Development District (EDD) for economic development planning.
Bel-O-Mar develops and administers the Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) and Regional Development Plan (RDP) for the EDD. The CEDS planning process identifies the economic and community development needs of the region and guides its economic growth strategy.
The objectives of the CEDS process are to help create jobs, cultivate a more stable and diversified economy, and improve the quality of life in the region. The process incorporates the efforts of many individuals and organizations—including local, state, and federal government agencies, private industry, and others who have a stake in the region’s economic development— and results in a five year strategic plan that is updated annually.
The Plan presents an overview of the region, including economic and other characteristics. It also provides an assessment of progress on regional economic development fronts, discusses strengths and challenges in the District that can impact future development, and outlines a set of goals, objectives, and activities as part of a plan to address local development issues. EDA requires an annual update of this plan. The purpose of this update is to take stock of economic changes in the EDD and adjust the CEDS accordingly. The 2015 plan update of the CEDS is the most current document. Some of the information in this Plan is drawn from the Bel-O-Mar Region Labor Market Study 2006 prepared for the Bel-O-Mar Regional Council by the West Virginia University’s Bureau of Business and Economic Research. Throughout the CEDS plan this study is referred to as the Bel-O-Mar Study.