A federal grant of $133.000 has been awarded to the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments for development of an areawide strategy to stimulate economic development.
Under the grant, from the Commerce Department's Economic Development Administration. COG will coordinate establishment of a Metropolitan Area Economic Development Advisory Committee to analyze current problems and approaches available to implement a new areawide development plan.
To date, economic development promotion efforts here have been conducted separately by those jurisdictions that have established their own agencies. In addition, the Metropolitan Washington Board of Trade has started areawide development promotions during the past two years.
Arrington Dixon, a member of the D.C. City Council and current COG chairman, called for an areawide strategy last February, when he appealed to the COG's board to make the problems of unemployment and economic development a top priority for 1978.
Dixon, the Democratic candidate for D.C. Council Chairman in the November general election, said he was notified of the Commerce Department decision by Deputy Assistant Secretary Victor Hausner.
The COG, an organization of area governments, will emhpasize development in communities with economic distress - urban and older suburban neighborhoods.
The new advisory committee will develop an economic development policy for approval by COG's board after which an "initial action program" will be prepared with specific strategies.
In a prepared statement, Dixon said the government contract will provide for "a creative effort to bring new meaning to economic development and, with it, new hopes for the older urban and suburban areas which have been neglected too long by economic development programs."
The contract extends for one year ending next Sept. 29, CG said.
In his campaign for the D.C. Council post. Dixon has emphasized employment issues and called on the city government to develop a regional economic strategy to create new jobs.
He has supported union involvement in opening up apprentice programs, regional coordination of government employment programs and public as well as private training programs.
Although areawide unemployment has remained relatively low (under 5 percent) the jobless rate in the District alone is close to 10 percent.