Redevelopment Ready: Village of Marcellus receives "open for business" designation from state

What’s happening: The Cass County village of Marcellus is open for business and the State of Michigan wants everybody to know it. Marcellus has officially been recognized with a Redevelopment Ready Community Essentials designation, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation announced, making the village the 16th such “Essentials” community to be accepted into the exclusive statewide program.

What it is: The Redevelopment Ready Communities (RRC) program offers Michigan communities a collection of economic development best practices that, once met, indicate to investors that the community is an attractive place to do business. Developed by both the private and public sectors, the RRC program stresses transparency, predictability, and efficiency when it comes to economic development. Per the MEDC, the RRC Essentials designation formally recognizes “that a community has a vision for the future and the fundamental practices in place to get there.”

Why it’s important: “We knew we had our work cut out for us when we first decided to pursue the MEDC's Redevelopment Ready Community status, which is why we initially chose the Essentials path,” says Village Manager/Clerk Jacqueline Terrill. “We really didn't realize how many things were holding us back until we started the review process. For example, we had parking regulations for our downtown area that were impossible to comply with. Now that we've made so much progress and have begun to see the immediate benefits and value of our work in truly becoming a community ready for redevelopment, we look forward to pursuing Certified status with the RRC team.”

How they did it: The MEDC credits Marcellus leaders with creating a predictable development experience for future developers by incorporating key documents and practices, meeting local planning and zoning responsibilities under Michigan law, and executing a large-scale master plan and zoning ordinance update. The village is expected to pursue full RRC Certification in the future, which includes an additional criteria set that signals development-friendly communities to potential investors.

On the horizon: “The village is currently working on a downtown streetscape project with the help of RAP funds, which means a beautified downtown area for our residents, visitors, and business owners,” said Village President Dennis Irwin. “The village and its DDA are also working on the restoration and stabilization of a downtown building. With the grace and good luck of grant funding, we will be able to complete this project to save the historic building from suffering the same fate as the old Columbian Hotel that was demolished in 2016.”

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