Wednesday, September 29, 2004
Downtown Development Plan to Set a Course for the Future
Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) representatives joined Howard City officials to celebrate the city's designation as one of 11 communities to participate in "Blueprint for Michigan's Downtowns" in 2004. Now in its second year, the program is designed to assist downtown leaders with formulating a comprehensive action plan to address economic development challenges and encourage growth. The MEDC and the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) have committed a total of $200,000 to fund the project this year. Howard City will receive $15,000 of this funding and provide an additional 100 percent match.
"Keeping our downtowns economically healthy is essential if we want to bring jobs and investment to the state," said MEDC President and CEO Don Jakeway. "Blueprints is a fantastic opportunity for communities to tap the knowledge of proven downtown development consultants to formulate a progressive plan for the future at a reasonable cost."
As a Blueprint community, Howard City will work with the MEDC and the national downtown consulting firm of HyettPalma to develop an action plan. The process includes defining a long term economic development vision, conducting a market analysis to determine the potential of the downtown area, formulating a definitive course of action and encouraging the formation of a public/private management team to implement the plan. HyettPalma will make its initial visit to Howard City next February. Formulating the plan will take approximately five months, with implementation estimated to take five years.
"With the industrial and residential growth that we've experienced in Howard City, we look at the Blueprints program as a unique opportunity to address and revitalize our downtown and assist us in providing a truly well rounded community for our citizens," said Howard City Village Manager Marc Bennett.
The Michigan Economic Development Corporation, a partnership between the state and local communities, promotes smart economic growth by developing strategies and providing services to create and retain good jobs and a high quality of life.