Greetings! We hope you enjoy our November 2018 Newsletter!
Monroe County's Lead Economic Development Organization geared up with a growth strategy for the 21st Century ...
Monroe County Link is Almost a Year Old
The Monroe County Link Action Team Meeting held their final meeting for 2018 on November 9. Over the course of the first year, from January 12 to date, the Monroe County Pillar Team volunteers have logged over 500 hours of dedication to this initiative.

The meeting began with Tim Lake, BDC's President & CEO, reminding the group of the project's purpose which was to create a strategy to guide the I-75 corridor economic development decisions. This plan has since evolved to become the County's economic strategy guide!

The Pillars and Team Captains are:
  • Prepare for Investment - Barry Buschmann, Mannik Smith Group
  • Grow Strategically and Grow Monroe As A Logistics Gateway - Paul Pirrone, Bedford Township
  • Enhance the Local Image & Brand - Michael Bosanac, County of Monroe
  • Improve the Local Quality of Life & Strengthen Tourism Opportunities - Doug Chaffin, Monroe Bank & Trust
  • Improve Workforce Development & Education - Co-chaired by Dr. Stephen McNew, Monroe County Intermediate School District and Gregory Pitoniak, Southeast Michigan Community Alliance (SEMCA)

Each Pillar Team Captain presented their priority goals, hurdles, and what they have learned. Following the presentations, an open "thoughts" session was held where these comments were shared:
  • The value in the future will be in the ideas, taking risks and learning from it.
  • Risks were taken, lessons were learned.
  • People are excited about the growth of our county.
  • It is imperative to some communities that the Monroe County Link initiative continue.
  • We are making the process easier for developers, but communities need to get onboard.
  • We have so many exciting things happening with the Battlefield and Monroe County; the MC Link Team will continue to help and communicate our message.
  • Ideas that come up in Monroe County Link meetings are taken back to individual communities where they are incorporated on a smaller scale.
  • The value of the Monroe County Link plan is extremely beneficial ... it should never end.
  • This is a great platform for everyone to get together ... it is nice to have major community players and elected officials at the same table.

Watch for more on the Monroe County Link Plan to come. Monroe County has come a long way this past year, and we can't wait to see what 2019 brings!
Life after Coal …. the rebirth of the JR Whiting Plant
Tim Lake spent a day with Houston Roberts, a principal with Forsite Development. Forsite is the company that is redeveloping the old JR Whiting coal fired power generation facility in Luna Pier, Michigan. Forsite Development is in the process of dismantling the plant and preparing the site for potential reuse. The site is now being referred to as the Luna Pier Intermodal Park. Do not let the name fool you, this site has plenty of attributes and could be repurposed for any number of different uses.

The main objective of Forsite is to generate capital investment and jobs for the region and Luna Pier. I am sure they will be successful as they are certainly doing a stellar job in the dismantling of the plant. Houston told those in attendance that there should be visible evidence of the building coming down that will be seen from I-75 after the first of the year. They had just taken down a large conveyor system that supported the old operations of the plant and expect to take down the water tower soon. They have also removed one exterior wall of the plant along with some out buildings. It is expected the plant will be totally removed and the site ready for rebuild by sometime in the third quarter of next year.

The main purpose of the tour was to update our regional partners on the soon-to-be readiness of the site and to discuss potential development opportunities. Once all the buildings are removed, there will be near 100 acres of solid buildable land and another 100 acres that could be used for parking or lay down sites. That along with 1,500 lineal feet of Class 1 rail sidings serviced by CN. The site currently has buildable acreage should a project arise. There is 50 acres north of Erie Road that could be suitable for a number of activities.

Should you or someone you know have an interest in development for an industrial site located along a major interstate and being served by Class 1 rail, please contact the BDC and we will be happy to put you in touch with Forsite Development.
Employee Turnover Issues?
Join us November 29 to learn more
$3500. That is the estimated cost that a company takes on each time an employee leaves. There are many processes that factor into this dollar figure including: interviewing, onboarding, training and an overall decrease in productivity. You have probably encountered this issue in the past but the Michigan Works! Monroe Service Center as a contractor of the Southeast Michigan Community Alliance (SEMCA) is here to help! Michigan Works! has created a new strategy designed to increase retention & productivity in the work place called the Business Resource Network. Read more from our October 2018 Newsletter .
We are inviting YOU to come and learn more about this exciting program! Administrators will present on the program and answer any and all questions you may have. Please RSVP by Nov. 26  to one of the times/locations below that is most convenient for you. We will send you an electronic invite shortly after you register with the address and specifics for your calendar.
8:00 to 9:00 am
Michigan Works!
Monroe Service Center
11:00 am to 12:00 Noon
Dundee Village Hall
1:30 to 2:30 pm
Bedford Township Hall
Questions ... Contact Matt Vanisacker at the BDC (734-241-8081 x103).

A Successful Event
Our annual fall event was held on October 30 at the Monroe County Community College's La-Z-Boy Center. With over 70 attendees, this year's event was a great success!

We hope if you were one of the attendees, that you too found the event to be worthwhile.

A few more things to think about ...
> Financial Support for Manufacturers and Businesses - To assist in the development of small businesses in Monroe County, the Matching Fund Program was created to provide gap and seed funding assistance for companies. Tim Lake, stated, "by nurturing new companies and those in growth mode, this program will assist with both capital formation and job creation within Monroe County." The application process is open! Please visit to find out more about this funding opportunity. And, spread the word ... these funds are available to help Monroe County manufacturers and businesses.
>> More tidbits of information on the new Gordie Howe International Bridge!
>>> The BDC office will be closed to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday on Thursday & Friday, November 22 & 23. We will reopen on Monday, November 26, at 9:00 am.
We give thanks for all of your support this past year. Wishing you and your family a blessed Thanksgiving!

Tim, Matt & LuAnn
  Please feel free to contact us anytime!

(734) 241-8081