May Newsletter 2018
Re-live favorite moments from the
NLEA 2018 Annual Luncheon!
Economic Development takes Center Stage at Annual Lunch
Carly Thompson, Administrative/Communications Assistant

NLEA welcomed over 400 elected officials and representatives from local chambers, communities, and businesses to celebrate regional economic development on Friday, May 11 2018. This year’s Annual Luncheon took place at Boyne Mountain Resort in the Matterhorn Room (Civic Center). Attendees were greeted by a collection of pouring stations from Short’s Brewing Company as they walked in to registration. The East Jordan High School Jazz Band kicked off the event, while guests had the opportunity to network and then led the crowd in the National Anthem to begin the program.

Great Lakes Center for the Arts awarded
Project of the Year

East Jordan Honored as a Bunch of Maniacs (And that's a Good Thing!)
Amanda Baker, Downtown Development Coordinator
At Northern Lakes Economic Alliance the term “Maniac” is a badge of honor. We use it to describe those who remain focused and push through the hurdles in the name of progress. On May 11, 2018 the Maniac of the Year award was presented to the entire community of East Jordan to recognize their group approach to perseverance.

For a community to grow, a number of factors must fall into place at the right time and that can’t happen without a unified group of leaders. Everyone from City Hall, to the Chamber of Commerce, to the schools, businesses, and community service organizations have to be looking in the same direction to initiate the steps needed.
Manthei Veneer Rebuilds with $280,000 Award
Hannah Sanderson, Business Attraction & Growth

With a new product on the horizon and production ramping up pace,   Manthei Veneer was met with a very unexpected disaster. In August of 2017, Manthei Veneer suffered the complete loss of their veneer mill. This resulted in 40 employees immediately out of a job and thousands of dollars lost per day due to not being operational. Resort Bear Creek Fire Department and the surrounding departments fought the blaze; however the mill quickly went up in flames to the point of no return.

Within hours of the mill catching on fire, NLEA had brought a rapid response team together consisting of NLEA staff members, MI Works!, the  Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) , and Manthei Veneer officials to review the situation and outline various solutions to have them up and running again. 
Outdoor Spaces get Upgrades
Jessica Lovay, Office Manager/Grant Administrator

The Village of Central Lake will soon be home to two revamped outdoor spaces.

The Village of Central Lake is gearing up for some outdoor space renovations this year. They have been working with representatives from NLEA and the   Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC)   to complete the necessary applications and steps for receipt of a  Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) .

The $251,350 in grant funds will assist in the installation of five permanent docks in Thurston Park and constructing a 40’x70’ pavilion with adjacent public restrooms and a storage room totaling 21’x19’ on the corner of North and Main Street. Project activities also include: installation of a water and sewer line for the restrooms, tree removal at the pavilion site, and preparation of the pavilion parking lot.
That's Billions. With a B.
Janet Koch, Community Development Director

We all know the amazing natural resources in northern lower Michigan are an economic boon to our communities—all you have to do is look for a parking spot in July to recognize that! But the economic impact isn’t just tourism; water keeps people here, trails bring people here to live, and access to hunting, fishing, and snowmobiling can be cited as a contributing factor in locating some businesses.

But what, exactly, is the economic impact of outdoor recreation? The U. S. Department of Commerce estimates that  outdoor recreation is 2% of the nation’s gross domestic product. Okay, that’s nice to know, but what does that mean to us?
Plant Expansions keep jobs and families in Charlevoix County
Buck Love, Business Retention & Growth

Two expansion projects in Charlevoix County have come down the pipeline and into the hands of NLEA. Both DCL Inc. and Van Dam Marine have been approved to begin plans to expand their operations.

By a unanimous vote, the Charlevoix Township Board passed the resolution to approve a Plant Rehabilitation District (PRD) for DCL, Inc. at their 5/14/18 meeting to begin improvements of the adjacent former Viatec Company building located at 12535 US31 N. in Charlevoix. The uninhabited structure was designated as more than 50% obsolete and unusable by the township tax assessor.
You're either Green and Growing, or Ripe and Rotting.
Is growth a bad thing?

Andy Hayes, President-Northern Lakes Economic Alliance

I recently attended a meeting downstate where the discussion centered on how we can benefit Michigan and its communities. In typical brainstorm fashion, our large group was divided into smaller tables to discuss and generate ideas which would be reported out to the larger group.

After one group’s suggestion that we help communities recruit individuals, an audience member (respectfully) suggested “why grow?” When the response was “to keep our communities from stagnating,” the audience member persisted that growth is bad—causing unnecessary congestion and build out, and that we should learn to live with what we have.