©2016 Michigan Economic Development Corporation

Michigan Economic Development Corporation Assists the Grand Rapids SmartZonesm

Tuesday, January 22, 2002

Jennifer Kopp
(517) 335-4590

$2 Million Awarded From the Core Communities Fund

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) awarded $2 million grant from the Core Communities Fund to assist in furthering the Grand Rapids SmartZonetoday.

The funding can be used for various activities within the zone including: property acquisition, demolition, site development, utility modifications, street improvements, telecommunication infrastructure, site location and infrastructure improvements.

“We are pleased to be able to aid the Grand Rapids SmartZone in stimulating the growth of technology-based business and jobs,” said Doug Rothwell, president & CEO of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.“The true team effort of state, city and local economic development officials behind this zone will help guarantee it becomes a haven of high-tech activity.”

Birgit Klohs, president of the Right Place Program and chairperson of the Grand Rapids Local Development Finance Authority, that will help fund the SmartZone, stated that this grant is a step forward for the zone. “The SmartZone program is one of key economic development initiatives for the State of Michigan and the City of Grand Rapids,” Klohs said. “We are delighted that the MEDC is partnering with us in driving our SmartZone forward.”

Eighty-eight core communities and those municipalities awarded a SmartZone designation are eligible to apply for Core Communities Funds. Established through a $50 million appropriation from the State Legislature, the Core Communities Fund’s goals include:

  • Promoting private investment and job creation;
  • Encouraging mixed-used development in our central cities;
  • Redeveloping or reusing obsolete buildings or non-marketable sites;
  • Effectively competing for interstate and international projects;
  • Developing certified business or technology parks; and
  • Enhancing the quality of life and strengthening the economic base while reducing urban sprawl.

In April 2001, the MEDC designated 11 SmartZones in communities throughout Michigan, including the Grand Rapids SmartZone.The zones are designed to bring business, research activities, and training and support services together in one location allowing for easy collaboration and to accelerate the commercialization of new technologies.

The Grand Rapids SmartZone is supported by the City of Grand Rapids, Grand Rapids Community College, Grand Valley State University, the Right Place Program and the Van Andel Institute (VAI).

The zone seeks to stimulate the growth of technology-based businesses and jobs in the Grand Rapids area.It will build upon the singular strength of the VAI, a sustained rebirth of downtown Grand Rapids and the commitment of regional institutions of higher education.The zone will also support the growing needs of new life sciences enterprises developed through the establishment of a life sciences product development center, to include a full-service incubation center.

The other SmartZones include: the Battle Creek Aviation and e-Learning SmartZone, the Grand Rapids SmartZone, the Kalamazoo SmartZone, the Lansing Regional SmartZone, the Michigan Tech EnterPrise SmartZone, the Muskegon Lakeshore SmartZone, the Oakland Automation Alley SmartZone, the Pinnacle Aeropark SmartZone, the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti SmartZone, the Mount Pleasant SmartZone and the Woodward Technology Corridor SmartZone.

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.

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