Rising Tide program designed to help communities develop strategies for economic prosperity

Michigan communities grow stronger when businesses, educators and residents work closely together toward common goals, Gov. Rick Snyder said last Thursday, celebrating the first graduation from the state's Rising Tide program.

Leaders in Charlotte, one of 10 communities participating in the program's initial phase, will now serve as mentors to others looking to tap state technical assistance and economic development tools and resources.

"When we strengthen our communities, we strengthen our regions and our state, too," Snyder said. "That's why we launched the Rising Tide program, and today we are celebrating its successes. Charlotte is a community focused on positive change. And while Charlotte is graduating, its work is far from over. Graduates will continue to build on strategies developed and help mentor the new class of communities throughout their journey."

One community from each of the state's 10 prosperity zones were selected in September 2015 to participate in the inaugural class of the program. By December, four of the 10 will have graduated. Additional communities are expected to be named later this month.

Throughout the program, Rising Tide communities received technical assistance from the state to create well-rounded economic and community development strategies, providing each community with the building blocks for sustained success.

Rising Tide is guided by the Department of Talent and Economic Development, tapping expertise from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, the Michigan State Housing Development Authority and the Talent Investment Agency.

Involved in the Rising Tide program are Newberry (Region 1), Central Lake (Region 2), Grayling (Region 3), Evart (Region 4), Harrison (Region 5), Sandusky (Region 6), Paw Paw (Region 8), Hillsdale (Region 9) and River Rouge (Region 10).

"It's been exciting to see what communities have been able to do as they've embraced Rising Tide," TED Director Roger Curtis said. "These have been community driven efforts with state support. Common challenges emerged, including the need for additional housing, increased communication between community stakeholders and better highlighting community assets information we can use across the state."

From the program's start, nearly 40 redevelopment projects are either in the works or completed across the 10 communities, and communities are now experiencing increased collaboration among local leaders and organizations.

Projects in the Rising Tide communities range from helping obtain grants to improve parks to assisting residents gain employability skills to guiding village leaders through better budgeting and zoning processes.

Charlotte Shoe Repair is one of the businesses that renovated a space in downtown Charlotte to accommodate his growing business, moving from a 1,000-square-foot shot to 3,500 square feet of renovated space.

"You can feel the excitement around downtown and throughout the community," Charlotte Shoe Repair owner Travis Lyon said. "I moved my business onto Cochran Avenue because I wanted to be part of the positive change happening and invest more in my community. This program has really given our community a self-confidence boost and has helped Charlotte turn heads throughout greater Lansing."

Published: Mon, Nov 13, 2017

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