Manistee to take part in Project Rising Tide

Project Rising Tide aims to bring economic development assistance to local communities in 10 Michigan regions. Manistee was selected for the program. The downtown area is typically one focus area in the program. (Ashlyn Korienek/News Advocate)

Project Rising Tide aims to bring economic development assistance to local communities in 10 Michigan regions. Manistee was selected for the program. The downtown is typically one area in focus for the program. (Ashlyn Korienek/News Advocate)

MANISTEE — Despite being a small town, the Manistee area provides a rich community experience for both visitors and residents.

From its Lake Michigan beaches, downtown events and businesses, Riverwalk and many festivals, Manistee attracts many tourists and new residents to the area each year.

However, when it comes to economic development there’s still some work to be done in order for the city to reach its goals.

Selected to take part in a fairly new state program, Manistee City Council approved a memorandum of understanding at its meeting on Tuesday to join Project Rising Tide, focusing on economic development efforts to build thriving communities.

The program runs under the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, Talent Investment Agency and Michigan State Housing Development Authority. Collectively, the three groups form the Talent and Economic Development (TED) team, managing the Rising Tide program.

Manistee is the only city chosen in its region, as one community in each of Michigan’s 10 prosperity regions were recently selected using data about poverty, unemployment, renter occupancy and vacancies — cross-matched by population.

Denise Blakeslee, Manistee Planning and Zoning administrator, said the Rising Tide initiative seeks to provide at-risk communities with the tools needed to design an economic development framework.

“This is a new program for communities that are selected, it’s not where you apply for it,” Blakeslee said, at the council meeting on Tuesday. “They actually select communities and come to you to ask if you wish to participate.”

The program takes place over a course of nine to 12 months.

Gov. Rick Snyder announced in September 2015, a pilot program for Rising Tide launched with the following communities from all 10 regions participating in 2017: Newberry, Central Lake, Grayling, Evart, Harrison, Sandusky, Charlotte, Paw Paw, Hillsdale and River Rouge.

Now, Manistee will participate in the next round, along with the nine other selected communities.

On Tuesday, mayor pro-tem Roger Zielinski expressed his support for the Rising Tide program, based on its results in other communities.

“I think it’s a really good opportunity,” he said. “I had a chance to talk to some people from Harrison, they were involved in Rising Tide (in 2017). They had nothing but good things to say about it. It moved them forward pretty fast.”

The program provides training opportunities for city staff, research collection, evaluations of current practices, technical support and the development of an action plan, which requires regular updates from city staff.

“Pretty much what they said is ‘we can tailor a request for what a (specific) community needs’,” said Blakeslee. “It’s not where they go out and recruit developers or anything of that nature, it’s more for the documentation supporting reports — that kind of assistance.

“It provides, at no cost to us, services that we would otherwise pay for.”

Many of the 2017 communities that completed the program sought help with downtown revitalization, zoning ordinances, city branding enhancement, job creation opportunities and other technical assistance on documents like master plans.

“I think it’s gonna be a win-win for us,” said Blakeslee.

For more information about Project Rising Tide, visit mirisingtide.org.

 

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Posted by Ashlyn Korienek

Ashlyn is the cops & courts and city reporter for the Manistee News Advocate. You can reach her at (231) 398-3109 or akorienek@pioneergroup.com

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