Population recruitment a top priority in Manistee’s economic development strategy

Joe Borgstrom, president of Place + Main Advisors, LLC, revealed details of Manistee’s new economic development strategy. (Ashlyn Korienek/News Advocate)

MANISTEE — Manistee’s Project Rising Tide economic development strategy revealed a top priority is population growth and a lack of collaboration, both of which are key issues that the plan aims to address.

Lissette Reyes, community development fellow, and Joe Borgstrom, president of Place + Main Advisors, LLC, held a public event Tuesday afternoon, revealing details of Manistee’s new strategy.

Part of the plan focused on addressing key issues, strategic objectives and implementation strategies. Borgstrom said the City of Manistee has various unique assets like its natural resources and historic downtown district.

“What your community has been able to accomplish by revitalizing the Vogue Theatre is beyond just putting a theater in your downtown,” he said. “You have done a herculean effort. If you can do that, you can do anything — and turns out you did it. ”

In the plan, Borgstrom talked about entrepreneurship, placemaking, industry, talent attraction and tourism. One of the vital attractions for Manistee, he said, is the quality of living.

“You have an incredible community in which to live,” Borgstrom said. “You have a very low cost of living; that makes it attractive to talent.”

A number one priority for Manistee, Borgstrom said, is population recruitment. In addition, he said Manistee needs to increase its fulltime resident population.

“Having seasonal residents is nice, but you need more people who are living here fulltime,” he said. “It directly ties to absolutely everything that happens in your community.”

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the City of Manistee’s median age is 44.9 years old, and in Manistee County the median age is 49.3 years old. Borgstrom said Manistee’s median age is higher than the state average at 40.2 years old, but northern Michigan has a substantial retiree population.

“The nice thing is that you are fairly close to the state average,” he said. “We are seeing less and less people having kids. That’s having an impact on all of this stuff. This is really important when we talk about Manistee, because it’s our number issue here.”

The strategic plan aims to address various concerns by setting multiple goals, which were implemented by the City of Manistee. In addition, Borgstrom said they created strategic objectives which are assigned to certain organizations, with specific time frames.

Borgstrom said the plan includes the City of Manistee, Manistee County, Downtown Development Authority (DDA), Manistee Area Chamber of Commerce and Manistee County Visitors Bureau (CVB).

In the plan, strengths of key local organizations — the DDA, Chamber and CVB — were listed along with their assigned lead roles moving forward. Borgstrom also talked about “Team Manistee” and creating a strong collaborative effort.

“Economic development is a pretty big table to be at,” he said. “We wanted to focus on three organizations in particular: The Chamber, DDA, County Visitors Bureau and what we want them to focus on or what are their core strengths.”

Strengths

• Chamber — Industry relationships; business sector leader; business education; and economic development;

• DDA — Placemaking; festivals and events; and downtown retail; and

• CVB — Tourism and marketing experts.

Lead roles

Chamber — Leader in industry retention and recruitment, entrepreneurship, and population attraction; and supports placemaking and real estate development;

DDA — Leader in placemaking; and supports entrepreneurship, population attraction and tourism;

CVB — Leader in tourism marketing; and supports population attraction.

“Part of this is what lane everyone is supposed to be in,” he said. “This is who should be leading (in these areas).”

Moving forward, Reyes said city leaders will need to be on the same page. Borgstrom also suggested that leaders meet once a month to give updates.

“The whole hope of all of this, once everything is final, is that everyone will adopt (the plan) moving forward,” Reyes said.

The final economic development strategy will be published on the City of Manistee’s website. More details of the plan will be published in a future edition of the News Advocate.

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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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