The City of Charlevoix has been recognized for its successes and efforts in contributing to Michigan’s entrepreneurial growth and economic development in the annual eCities study conducted by researchers at iLabs, University of Michigan-Dearborn’s Center for Innovation Research.
Charlevoix was honored as a five-star community, the highest rating, along with 183 other communities across the state.
“We are on a roll,” said Charlevoix Mayor Luther Kurtz, “we are excited about the good things happening in Charlevoix and thrilled that people around the state are taking notice of our positive vision for the community.”
In the past two years, the Charlevoix Main Street Program has engaged hundreds of volunteers in community projects, several new businesses have opened, long-vacant buildings have been revitalized, and the community has spent more than $5 million updating its infrastructure.
“The City of Charlevoix is pleased to be recognized with a five star rating,” said City Manager Mark Heydlauff, “we are leveraging public and private resources to build a stronger, more vibrant community.”
Harsh winter weather in 2014 and 2015 caused many water line breaks and revealed the problems of aging underground infrastructure. “Supplying water to homes and businesses should not be weather dependent,” said Heydlauff who worked with the City Council to create an infrastructure improvement plan and the sale of more than $3 million in bonds to fund the work.
Charlevoix Main Street Executive Director Lindsey Dotson credits a team approach for the business growth and development in Charlevoix, a resort community of just under 3,000 on Lake Michigan and Lake Charlevoix.
“Our Main Street volunteers, business owners, Chamber of Commerce, Convention and Visitors Bureau, and local leadership share a common vision of having Charlevoix be a vibrant, year-round community,” she said. “We’re on the same page and we are beginning to see the results.”
The eCities study analyzed publicly available data from 277 communities from 54 counties in Michigan.
Researchers focused on the five-year changes in property values, community assets and tax rates, which can demonstrate the growth, investments and cost of doing business within the community.
For example, over the five-year period, these communities increased their capital assets by an average of 2 percent per year by purchasing public safety equipment and improving sidewalks and other infrastructure.
“While accounting for only about 15 percent of the cities and townships in Michigan, the 277 communities analyzed are home to nearly 70 percent of the population and 85 percent of the state’s commercial property,” Davis said. “By analyzing these high-performing communities, our goal is to showcase what cities and townships are doing to spur growth and how we can continue to support their efforts in developing business and encouraging entrepreneurs.”
Charlevoix will be recognized Tuesday, Nov. 14, during the eCities Panel Discussion, which will discuss how talent, business policy and access to capital have impacted community growth in Michigan.
The panel, moderated by DBusiness Magazine and DBusiness Daily News editor R.J. King, will feature Beth Ardisana, CEO, ASG Renaissance; Antonio Luck, managing director, Endeavor Detroit; Anthony Tomczak, chief procurement officer, DTE Energy; and Amelia Zamir, co-founder and principal of acquisitions, Method Development.
The annual eCities research project, which began in 2007, previously used data supplied by the participants.
This year’s shift to reviewing publicly available data was implemented to simplify the process for communities.