Wednesday, October 13, 2004
Downtown Development Plan to Set a Course for the Future
Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) representatives joined Ionia officials today to celebrate the city's designation as one of 11 communities to participate in the 2004 "Blueprint for Michigan's Downtowns" program. The program will help Ionia leaders formulate a comprehensive action plan to address economic development challenges and encourage growth. Ionia will receive $20,000 from the MEDC and the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA), and provide an additional $20,000 for its local match.
"The Blueprint program makes it possible for communities to tap into the knowledge of a nationally recognized downtown development firm at a reasonable cost," said MEDC President and CEO Don Jakeway. "This is an incredible opportunity for Ionia to take charge of its economic future."
As a Blueprint community, Ionia 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 Ionia next February. Formulating the plan will take approximately five months, with implementation estimated to take five years.
"We are very excited to have an opportunity to work with HyettPalma on developing an action plan for our downtown business district," said Ionia Mayor Dan Balice. "This is an extremely significant tool which we can use to plan, recruit and nurture downtown business development. It should greatly enhance our ability to provide assistance to our city's core retail and service industries."
The MEDC and MSHDA have committed a total of $200,000 to fund this year's Blueprints program.
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.