Communities across Southwest Michigan are ready for redevelopment, says MEDC

When it comes to redevelopment the City of Kalamazoo is ready, says the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC).

Kalamazoo is now one of 15 communities in Michigan that the state has designated as "thoroughly prepared" when it comes to best practices for zoning, planning, and other considerations that increase competitiveness and encourage development.

The program measures and then certifies communities if their programs are transparent, predictable and efficient. The RRC certification is a formal recognition that a community has a vision for the future and the fundamental practices in place to get there. 

The City of Kalamazoo has been awarded Redevelopment Ready Communities (RRC) certification, recognizing efforts made to remove barriers and promote opportunities for prospective investors in the city. The MEDC will formally present the award at the City Commission meeting at  Dec. 4.

As part of the program, the MEDC gave the city a comprehensive assessment, comparing the City’s current practices with RRC best practice standards. The RRC program also considered transparency, predictability, and efficiency as they relate to economic development.
"RRC certification sends a positive message to the development community that we are a team dedicated to success," says Rebekah Kik, Director of Community Planning & Development.We want to show that our staff is resourceful, proactive, and have a strategic advantage when it comes to working with the state on various incentives and opportunities,” 
As part of the RRC certification process, the City of Kalamazoo created a formalized Public Participation Policy and a Marketing and Branding Strategy for promoting Economic Development. These were crafted in conjunction with Imagine Kalamazoo 2025.
Kalamazoo joins Allegan, Boyne City, Eastpointe, Escanaba, Ferndale, Lansing, Lathrup Village, Manistee, Marshall, Middleville, Muskegon, Roseville, Southfield and Ypsilanti as certified Redevelopment Ready Communities.

Meanwhile, six Berrien County municipalities have made the first steps in the MEDC's Redevelopment Ready Communities initiative. The multi-stage RRC program is voluntary and encourages communities to adopt and implement redevelopment strategies through a set of best practices. Benton Harbor, Niles, St. Joseph and Watervliet, and the villages of Baroda and Stevensville all are participating.

Redevelopment Ready Communities certified cities and villages have a community-supported vision and attract investments that create places where people want to live, work and play.

“We are in a very competitive economy, developers and businesses can invest anywhere,” says Greg Vaughn, Chief Operating Officer and VP, Business Development for Cornerstone Alliance. “These Berrien County communities are committing to eventually become a Certified Redevelopment Ready Community, a significant component in successful economic development.”

MEDC President and CEO Michael A. Finney has said: "It’s an important resource that helps communities review their practices to foster vibrant places where businesses and talent want to be. Without strong communities, we can’t attract talent."

Source: Michigan Economic Development Corporation