October-December 2019
Quarterly Economic Development Report
Priority Projects

Retention Visits : Established a retention visit program with state economic development and workforce entities, which brings expertise and assistance to area businesses.  

Gateway to Downtown : Implemented a strategy for important support of this transformational project from City Council and the Manistee Downtown Development Authority (DDA).  

West Shore Community College Downtown : Initiated strategy for financial support of the project from Manistee DDA and inclusion in the DDA TIF plan. Assisted with a legislative request for additional funding. The overall goal is to create an educational and economic development asset at 400 River Street an investment of $5 million.  

New Manufacturing : Instrumental in assisting a new Manistee area manufacturing start-up company which will be a catalyst for local economic growth and result in job creation. 

Recreational Trails : Identified a strategy for comprehensive investment that will connect the Manistee area to regional trail systems. This will also provide new and enhanced economic opportunities.  
Notable Advances
  1. Identified available resources for Michigan Department of Agriculture Rural Development (MDARD) grant application, pushed out to the membership, and assisted with two including support letters. Success ~ North Channel Brewing Company (NCB) awarded a $100,000 grant, expanding year-round full-time employees.
  2. Multiple contacts were made in regards to local housing needs to find solutions.
  3. Monthly economic development column established to keep community aware of progress. First column: December Manistee News Advocate. 
  4. Partnering with Michigan Economic Department Corporation (MEDC) to revise and finalize a site assessment of the Renaissance Business Park.  
  5. Took the initiative to lead the Manistee Forward group, focusing on implementation of work plans that came out of Project Rising Tide program.
Economic Development
Council Members
Sarah Anderson, Iron Fish Distillery
James Barker, Munson Healthcare Manistee
Stacie Bytwork, Manistee Area Chamber
Jeff Dontz, Manistee County Commissioner
Dennis McCarthy, Blarney Castle Oil
Jim Reithel, Martin Marietta, Inc.
Tom St. Dennis, Little River Holdings, LLC
Thad Taylor, City of Manistee
Scott Ward, West Shore Community College
Priority Areas
  • Lead Business Retention, Attraction, and Growth
  • Talent/Workforce Development
  • Growing Entrepreneurs and Necessary Career Skills
  • Outdoor Recreation and Tourism
  • Placemaking and Housing Needs
  • Building a Collaborative Environment and Effective Communications
Thank you to all our Economic Development Investors
Newest Investor this quarter is the Manistee County Visitors Bureau.