Rebuilding a county’s road to prosperity

St. Clair County, Mich. seeks to reinvent itself with a ten point plan from the Economic Development Alliance.

May 22, 2014 - Author: Andy Northrop, Michigan State University Extension

Skyline of St. Clair as seen across the St. Clair River, in St. Clair County, Mich. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons user P199.
Skyline of St. Clair as seen across the St. Clair River, in St. Clair County, Mich. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons user P199.

Michigan has undergone several changes in the last few years – population declines, job loss and recovery, industry shifts. This changing landscape has forced businesses and leaders in the state to appreciate new ideas, embrace new concepts for development and shift the approach in how to rebuild communities, cities and counties.

Placemaking is one approach cities and smaller communities are taking to make themselves more attractive and to entice visitors and potential new residents. Embracing entrepreneurial activity is also another strategy seen as valuable path to building better communities.

The Economic Development Alliance of St. Clair County has identified a 10-step approach they have determined to be their “road to prosperity,” according to Chief Executive Officer, Dan Casey.

  1. Create better-paying jobs
  2. Leverage our transportation infrastructure
  3. Streamline government
  4. Strengthen our downtowns
  5. Be leaders, not followers
  6. Be a net exporter region
  7. Enhance our image in Michigan and Canada
  8. Align education with opportunity
  9. Promote our shoreline assets and culture
  10. Grow the next generation of businesses

Through these 10 steps, St. Clair County strives to reinvent itself as a more attractive place to live, work, and play. The Economic Development Alliance believes the success of these 10 points will come via developing a culture within the area around Leadership, Excellence, and Teamwork.

With a number of welcoming communities nestled inland and along the shoreline, the Blue Water Bridge to Canada, easy access to Lake Huron, other Thumb counties, and the metro-Detroit area, St. Clair County has potential to become one of Michigan’s biggest success stories in the 21st century.

Michigan State University Extension has a number of staff working across Michigan in areas related to community revitalization, development, and education.

Tags: civic engagement, community, conflict resolution, facilitation, lakes, leadership, livable communities, msu extension, streams & watersheds, tourism

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