Michigan State University has been awarded a $915,000 grant over five years from the U.S. Economic Development Administration to create a pioneering economic development center that focuses on new ways of generating businesses and jobs.
The MSU University Center for Regional Economic Innovation will work to support research in economic development innovation in a collaborative manner through partnering with other colleges, local and regional governments, private businesses and other groups to produce or identify innovative ideas and practices that can be shared.
The project will have a statewide focus, both urban and rural, and particularly in economically distressed regions. The center will seek opportunities to improve economic development in a variety of industries, such as information technology and the health and energy sectors.
To begin its work, the REI Center is asking for help in identifying innovative economic development tools, models, policies and/or practices that may create businesses and jobs in our state. Fill out the survey here. Suggestions may be featrued in webinars and presentations at the "Innovate Michigan! Summit, scheduled for Thursday, September 6, 2012.
Arnold Weinfeld is Director of Strategic Initiatives and Federal Affairs for the Michigan Municipal League. He can be reached at 517-908-0304 or by e-mail
Earlier this summer HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan visited Detroit to announce the Strong Cities, Strong Communities program, a multi-departmental White House effort to invest in urban economic development strategies. In phase one, Detroit and five other cities will receive additional federal support to help administer existing programs, including the Detroit Works project. Phase two of Strong Cities, Strong Communities is the Visioning Challenge, in which six additional cities will be awarded up to $1 million to conduct a local competition to come up with innovative place-based economic development strategies. The US Economic Development Administration (EDA), which is coordinating the Visioning Challenge, is requesting comments on how the Challenge should be constructed and executed. Visit the Federal Register notice to read more details about the Challenge and the questions EDA is asking. Responses are due Tuesday, August 9 so act quickly!
Luke Forrest is Project Coordinator for the Center for 21st Century Communities. Contact him by email, by calling 734-669-6323 or on Twitter @l4est.
League members are invited to participate in a one-day Grants Workshop on August 3, 2011 in East Lansing from 9:30am to 4:00pm. The workshop will be held at the Hannah Center First Floor Banquet Room, 819 Abbot Road. It will provide an excellent opportunity for community leaders and staff to learn more about federal resources available to them to assess, cleanup and redevelop brownfields. The workshop also will provide an opportunity to receive advice from experienced grant writers on how to improve your community's grant proposals. The workshop will be a combination of presentation, interactive discussion, and individual grant writing feedback sessions. Specifically, participants will learn about the following: Grant Writing Tips, Different EPA Brownfields Grant Types, Eligibility Requirements, Grant Application Process, Threshold and Ranking Criteria and Other Federal Grant Funding Opportunities.
Please note that time will be available during the afternoon of August 3 for one-on-one interactions with experienced grant writers. If you are interested in taking advantage of this tremendous opportunity, please indicate your interest on the registration form. To register or learn more about the event, contact Amanda Avila at Amanda.Avila@primacivitas.org.
Nearly every seat was taken during this morning's League Capital Conference breakout session, "Economic Development Tools for the 21st Century," as local government leaders expressed passionate support for state tax credits for economic development. Community officials characterized brownfield and historic preservation credits as "make or break" for saving downtowns. Representative Wayne Schmidt (R-Traverse City), Chair of the House Commerce Committee, spoke with the group about his strong support for those state incentives. He expressed concern that the Governor's proposal to replace credits with grant would not provide sufficient support for redevelopment and revitalization projects in our commerce centers, but he did express an expectation that the Legislature will make some significant changes to the programs.
Michael McGee of Miller Canfield also provided an update on the possibilities created last year by the Legislature through the Next Michigan Development Act, Public Acts 273-277. It allows certain large cities and Public Act 7 intergovernmental entities to form a Next Michigan Development Corporation. Those Corporations, which must meet a number of conditions, will have access to crucial economic development incentives like Renaissance Zones, Public 198 tax abatements and tax-increment financing to encourage job development in businesses oriented towards shipping, supply chain logistics, multi-modal transportation and light manufacturing. Wayne and Washtenaw Counties and seven local governments already have taken advantage of this act to form the Detroit Region Aerotropolis.
Luke Forrest is Project Coordinator for the Center for 21st Century Communities. Contact him at 734-669-6323 or firstname.lastname@example.org.