©2016 Michigan Economic Development Corporation

State Seeks Proposals to Support Idlewild Transformation Initiative

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Bridget Beckman, MEDC
(517) 335-4590

(517) 241-1736

Governor Jennifer M. Granholm today issued a request for proposals to develop an economic development action strategy for Idlewild that will help continue the revitalization and preservation efforts currently under way in the historic Lake County community.

"Idlewild has a rich history - through our transformation plan we are working to create jobs, build a thriving community and ensure a bright future," Granholm said.

The Request for Proposal (RFP) is being issued as part of the Idlewild, Michigan Transformation Initiative established by the governor to leverage the community's unique strengths to attract new investment and economic growth. The Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) and the Department of History, Arts and Libraries (HAL) serve as the initiative's lead agencies working in partnership with other state, federal and local agencies. The MEDC will provide administration services for the RFP process.    

"This effort really captures what can be accomplished when all levels of government - federal, state and local - share resources and talent," MEDC President and CEO James C. Epolito said. "All the stakeholders bring unique experiences and expertise in different areas that will really make this a very successful endeavor."

This summer, the governor announced $93,875 in combined federal and state grants to support the initiative. The funding was used to revise the National Register of Historic Places designation for Idlewild to accurately reflect its national significance, develop a cultural resource management plan to ensure appropriate preservation of this nationally significant historic and cultural resource, post five Michigan Historical Markers to fully illustrate the Idlewild story and develop a walking/driving tour to encourage more cultural tourism.

Other transformation projects have included: the cleaning of state land in and around the Idlewild community, repairing the public skid pier and boat launch on Idlewild Lake, the creation of Idlewild's first comprehensive Web site and blight removal.  

"At the peak of its popularity, Idlewild attracted upwards of 20,000 visitors on the weekend," said HAL Director Dr. William Anderson.  "As the largest, in-tact resort of its kind anywhere in the country, I firmly believe Idlewild has the potential not only to positively contribute to the economy of its surrounding communities but also to become a major national cultural-tourism destination."

The RFP is available online at www.MichiganBusiness.org under Public Notices and RFPs along with specifics of the application process. Proposals must be submitted to the MEDC per the instructions in the RFP no later than 5:00 p.m. on December 10, 2007. Questions regarding the request for proposal process may be submitted via e-mail to contracts&grants@michigan.org. Questions must be received via e-mail no later than 5:00 p.m. on December 3, 2007.

The Idlewild, Michigan Transformation Initiative involves many federal, state and local partners, including the National Park Service, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the National Forest Service, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Department of Transportation, the Department of Natural Resources, the Department of Corrections, the Department of Labor & Economic Growth, the Michigan State Housing Development Authority, the Department of Environmental Quality, Travel Michigan, Yates Township, the Yates Township Planning and Zoning Commission, the Idlewild Positive Image Committee and Lake County.

Founded in 1912, Idlewild represented freedom for many African Americans, being one of more than 30 resorts in the country where African Americans were permitted to vacation and purchase property before such discrimination became illegal in 1964. Commonly known as the "Black Eden," Idlewild was an active year-round community through the mid-1960s, frequented by well-known entertainers and professionals from throughout the country.

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. For more information on the MEDC's initiatives and programs, visit the Web site at www.MichiganBusiness.org.

The Department of History, Arts and Libraries is dedicated to enriching quality of life and strengthening the economy by providing access to information, preserving and promoting Michigan's heritage and fostering cultural creativity. The department includes the Library of Michigan, the Mackinac Island State Park Commission, the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, the Michigan Film Office and the Michigan Historical Center. To learn more, visit www.michigan.gov/hal. 
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