New program can assist in community development done right

Redevelopment Ready Communities program offered by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation has program to implement best practices to help ensure successful development and redevelopment in communities.

Michigan State University Extension partner Northern Lakes Economic Alliance recently hosted an excellent seminar presented by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s Jennifer Rigterink.

Rigtertink serves as the MEDC’s Redevelopment Ready Communities (RRC) program leader.

RRC is a statewide program that “certifies communities who actively engage stakeholders to vision and plan for the future. An RRC certification signals to business owners, developers and investors that the community has removed development barriers by building deliberate, fair and consistent processes. Certified Redevelopment Ready Communities attract investment to create thriving places where people want to live work and play,” according to information provided at the conference.

The RRC best practices were developed by experts in the public and private sector and communities are evaluated based on “nurturing the potential of a community to meet the unique needs of businesses and residences.”

Once a community has implemented suggested best practices and is awarded certification the RRC program together with the MEDC will assist with promotion and marketing of up to three sites ready for redevelopment.

The chosen sites will be “prime for new investment because they are located within a community that has effective policies, efficient processes and broad community support.” 

There are several points to ponder that are proven “best practices” for those communities that are successful in attracting development.

  1. Is your community friendly and open to potential developers?
  2. Do you have zoning policies that are easily accessible to potential developers?
  3. Is your development “review process” efficient, timely and easy to understand?
  4. Have you identified your top prospective sites, discussed potential best uses for the site(s) and made sure your zoning allows for that “best use”?

For a copy of the “Redevelopment Ready Communities Best Practices” booklet go to the NLEA Downtown Development Tools section of the NLEA website and a downloadable PDF is available at the bottom of the page. For community assistance, contact the MEDC -- RRC program or your local Michigan State University Extension educator.

MSU Extension has had a unique partnership relationship with the regional economic development organization NLEA for more than 20 years. Recognizing the strength of combining resources, this partnership focuses on economic development, entrepreneurship growth and community infrastructure throughout a four-county region in the northwest Lower Peninsula, specifically Antrim, Charlevoix, Cheboygan and Emmet counties. As a result, the NLEA utilizes resources offered through MSU Extension as it provides leadership to state-wide programs sponsored by MSU Extension.

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