2. Spurring Economic Development
Encouraging development and the growth of business is good for our city & taxpayers alike. It's why I believe we should always take a competitive approach to economic development and be focused on streamlining the regulatory climate here in New Baltimore. It has been a priority for me on council and will remain so for the next four years. Some of my work in this area has included:
1. Advocating for and delivering on changes in city ordinance and policy in order to pursue Redevelopment Ready Certification through the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. Certification means the City has modernized its policies surrounding building & development and brought standards in line with commonly accepted practice statewide. In making these changes, we are changing the culture and removing antiquated barriers that cost us time, money, and opportunity, in addition to making things much less confusing. Final certification makes the city eligible for resources from this state agency to help us grow further.
2. Working to develop city owned properties. As a member of council, I served on the subcommittee assigned to negotiate the sale and development of the Washington and Front corner downtown. I spearheaded the effort to maintain dialogue with the chosen developer and worked with the mayor and other members to craft an agreement to bring to the table. Council has approved the deal and will be moving forward on selling the vacant lots for development. A bit about that:
This deal is a two phase purchase and development. That means land will be bought and sold as they go, performance and completion of phase 1 will mean they’ve earned the right to phase 2. That’s important because it serves to protect the city’s interest in actually seeing the project done, not just to have the property sold. The agreement looks to bring a three story, mixed-use development to downtown, including sorely needed parking, commercial space, and equally vital residential space right to the heart of our city. Further, the phase two proposal looks to include an anchor restaurant, additional residential space, and rooftop space overlooking beautiful Lake St. Clair.
Looking ahead, New Baltimore must now do the work to help shepherd this project to completion. We must maintain accountability for what’s been agreed to, and we do that through focus and cooperation. We must work to help our partners keep the project on track, navigate approvals, and ensure this project looks, feels, and is at home in our city. I believe council is committed to doing just that.
I’ve worked with Peak 3 as part of the subcommittee tasked with ironing out the agreement. They’ve stuck with the city while we’ve wrestled for years to find a way to make this work for New Baltimore. They’re local investors, not some corporate developer. They need this investment to work for the sake of their own families and that’s a big part of what makes them special in my eyes. I believe them to be committed and sincere in their desire to invest and be part of our community.
3. Investing to create more space for business. I serve as liaison to Local Development Finance Authority. The taxing entity is designed to make investments in the designated area, our industrial park. While there I have advocated for the release of development dollars to be used in expanding buildable footprint of the industrial park, seeking to create more opportunity for development and investment in our community.
There is so much more work to do in this area and I'm ready to help us keep moving forward!