Economic development plan rolled out to public

The City of Negaunee has accepted its first ever Economic Development Strategy, known as “Moving Forward.”

An Economic Development Strategy is a planning document that helps guide communities interested in taking an active role in economic development.

“This is a well thought-out plan that puts us on the path for economic success, this is a major milestone for Negaunee,” said City Manager Nate Heffron.

The Moving Forward plan includes several strategies, some that the community is already engaged in and others that the community will be acting upon soon. These strategies include:

  •  Continuing the City’s relationship with Lake Superior Community Partnership (LSCP) for economic development and business retention services;
  •  Continuing the City’s relationship with the Superior Trade Zone for a regional approach to economic success;
  •  Implementing a Downtown Plan and streetscape project to preserve Negaunee’s history, enhance character and spawn new economic development opportunities;
  •  Working with downtown business owners to engage the Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s grant facade program;
  •  Partnering with Invent NMU with their kiosk program to expand business start-up resources;
  •  Working to establish a Neighborhood Improvement Authority to meet the demands for new, affordable housing opportunities for families and expanding employment markets;
  •  Establishing a historic district to take advantage of tax credits available through federal programs and preserve Negaunee’s history and character;
  •  Becoming a Michigan Main Street Program community, allowing for stronger community connections that concentrate on economic vitality, downtown design, promotion and organization;
  •  Becoming a Michigan Redevelopment Ready Community showing that Negaunee is ready for business and has taken the necessary steps to streamline what is necessary for development;
  •  Developing and maintaining of a Capital Improvements Plan to allow the city to properly plan for infrastructure and service development and;
  •  Reactivating the Downtown Development Authority to revitalize development sites and establish a Tax Increment Finance District.

Negaunee’s Economic Development Strategy has been made possible through the technical assistance of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC). Funds for this project were derived from the Project Empire Initiative. Work was preformed through the newly created Negaunee Economic Development Advisory Team, with the professional assistance of John Iacoangeli of Beckett and Raeder.

The LSCP will be working in conjunction with the City of Negaunee to develop a public revealing of this plan on at 5 p.m. on December 10 in the Negaunee High School’s auditorium. The event is open to the public; light refreshments and dessert will be provided after the presentation.

“We see this as an opportunity to bring forward a viable plan for Negaunee, based on economic data and proven techniques,” Heffron said. “This plan is tailored to our specific needs, this is not a one-size fits all approach.”

According to Amy Clickner, CEO of the LSCP, “This plan definitely shows that Negaunee is open for business; that they are here to help foster a relationship that lends assistance to businesses, creates jobs, and goes that extra mile to bring them here and keep them here.”

A copy of this document can be viewed at www.cityofnegaunee.com or at the Negaunee Public Library.