Charlevoix hailed for economic development

Charlevoix is one of four Michigan cities recently lauded for its support of entrepreneurship and economic development.


According to the annual eCities study, conducted by iLabs, University of Michigan-Dearborn’s Center for Innovation Research, identified the cities of Charlevoix, Hillsdale, Marquette and Sault Ste. Marie as 2018 eCities Honored Communities for their successes and efforts in contributing to Michigan’s growth.

“We believe quality of life is critical to the future success of Charlevoix,” according to Charlevoix Mayor Luther Kurtz, “ensuring senior citizens are included in events, improving pedestrian access, and engaging the youth of our community in planning for the future are all ways we build a stronger community. Housing remains a major concern for us but we are pleased to see the employment growth in our community continues. We’re on a roll!”

Since 2015, the City has rebuilt more than 18 blocks of streets with new infrastructure at a time when state leaders are unsure how to address infrastructure across the state. Charlevoix’s Main Street program has more than a hundred active volunteers helping on various projects and special events in the community.

“Our businesses and volunteers really deserve credit for helping us receive this recognition. We’ve had our challenges but we’ve worked cooperatively to keep Charlevoix moving forward,” said Lindsey Dotson, Executive Director of Charlevoix Main Street.

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 of 2013-2017, these communities increased their capital assets by an average of 2 percent per year by investments such as street and building improvements, technology, and emergency vehicles and equipment.

“The City Council has been focused on five key goal areas over the past few years to help improve the quality of life and business growth in our community,” said City Manager Mark Heydlauff. “This award is evidence of the impact this strategy is having on the community.”

Heydlauff noted the City’s work at expanding public WiFi and creating more recreational opportunities as other significant improvements in the community.

“While accounting for only about 15 percent of the cities and townships in Michigan, the 277 communities analyzed are home to 70 percent of the population and 85 percent of the state’s commercial property,” said Tim Davis, director, iLabs. “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.”

The communities — as well as 181 communities named five- and four-star performers — will be acknowledged Thursday, Nov. 29, during the Executive Speaker Series panel discussion, which will discuss Michigan’s economic growth, including key areas such as capital, infrastructure, industry, and the ecosystem.

The panel, moderated by Dr. Brian Patrick Green, Czarnecki Collegiate Professor, UM-Dearborn College of Business, will feature William Adams, Senior International Economist, PNC Financial Services Group; Maureen Miller Brosnan, Executive Director, Michigan Venture Capital Association; Kristina Kolbas, SVP Enterprise Services, Quicken Loans; and Jeff Marston, V.P. of Business Services, Comcast Business, Heartland Region. The event, hosted by WWJ Newsradio 950’s Murray Feldman of the Feldman Report, is free, but registration is required.

About University of Michigan-Dearborn
Founded in 1959 with a gift of just over 200 acres of land and $6.5 million from the Ford Motor Company, University of Michigan-Dearborn is a metropolitan university serving southeastern Michigan, committed to excellence rooted in strong academics, innovative research and programming and civic engagement. The university has 9,100 students pursuing more than 100 bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral and professional degrees in liberal arts and sciences, engineering, business, education and health programs. A top-ranked university with faculty devoted to teaching and students committed to achievement, UM-Dearborn is shaped by its history of partnering with local leaders and communities, and is committed to finding solutions for the challenges that face the region.