When the phone rings, is your community prepared?
If a company asks you today “Where can I set up shop in your community?” are you prepared to answer? Knowing your communities’ available sites and amenities is essential for growth.
When a business is trying to locate in a new area, one of the first things they need is a location site. Knowing the available sites and key development information about each site is important for communities to respond quickly and effectively to requests from site selection professionals and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s (MEDC) Attraction Team.
Michigan State University Extension partner Northern Lakes Economic Alliance has been diligently working to guide and support local communities to “be prepared” for inquiries from site selection companies and business owners researching new locations. First and foremost, communities must be prepared. Below are a few inexpensive yet critical items your community should have in place:
- Local Teams. Your town needs a “local quick response team”. This will provide a trained local team to meet with prospective companies and developers for site visits and sharing information about the community and available amenities. Nothing is more frustrating for the potential company and embarrassing for the local community than an unprepared team.
- Inventory of available manufacturing/development sites. You should know what sites are available in your community. With each site, you need to know all the key information such as asking price, size, utilities, infrastructure (roads, water, sewer, power, internet, etc.) governmental unit, taxes, the listing agent, etc.
- Zoom Prospector. Make sure available sites in your community are up-loaded to the MEDC site inventory database (Zoom Prospector). Contact your real estate agent, local economic development organization or the MEDC if new properties need to be posted.
- Know your MEDC Attraction Team. This group works hard to recruit companies to locate in our state. The more familiar they are with your community and the sites you have available the better it is for all concerned. Do not wait for them to call you, communities should pro-actively reach out, introduce yourself and invite them to visit your community to tour sites and discuss development possibilities.
Michigan State University Extension has had a unique partnership relationship with the regional economic development organization Northern Lakes Economic Alliance (NLEA) for more than 20 years. Recognizing the strength of combining resources, this partnership focuses on economic development, entrepreneurship growth and community infrastructure throughout a four-county region in the northwest Lower Peninsula, specifically Antrim, Charlevoix, Cheboygan and Emmet counties. As a result, the NLEA utilizes resources offered through MSU Extension as it provides leadership to state-wide programs sponsored by MSU Extension.