Harrison named a Rising Tide city

October 2, 2015

By Rosemary Horvath
Correspondent

The cities of Evart in Osceola County and Harrison in Clare County that have made significant improvements this year are now singled out for a special pilot project inspired by Gov. Rick Snyder.

They are among the ten economically challenged communities chosen from their respective Prosperity Zone regions to work on developing new strategies for economic prosperity and creating more and better jobs, the governor said in the announcement Wednesday.

Labelled as Rising Tide, the new effort is sponsored by the Michigan Department of Talent and Economic Development.
The goal is to have local leaders work with state advisers to design and build a solid planning, zoning and economic development foundation to attract new businesses and help existing employers to grow.

Snyder said this program will help economically challenged communities be better positioned for redevelopment opportunities.
“As the saying goes, a Rising Tide lifts all boats,” said Steve Arwood, TED Director and Michigan Economic Development Corporation CEO. “Through this initiative, the TED team will work closely with local leaders as they create vibrant and thriving communities across Michigan.”
Communities were chosen based on unemployment rate, poverty level, labor participation rate, renter occupied units, vacancy rates and percentage of households receiving food stamps.

Cities are are: Region 1, Newberry; Region 2, Central Lake; Region 3, Grayling; Region 4, Evart; Region 5, Harrison; Region 6, Sandusky; Region 7, Charlotte; Region 8, Paw Paw and Region 9, Hillsdale.

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation, Talent Investment Agency and Michigan State Housing Development Authority will be part of the initiative.
Tracey Beadle, Harrison city manager and clerk, said in an email reply, “We at the City are very honored and excited to be chosen for the Project Rising Tide Initiative. This will give us the tools needed to help make Harrison more successful. By the City showing the initiative with the projects that are already in the works, I believe this is what helped us to receive this honor.”

The Harrison Rising Tide team includes Beadle and Harrison Mayor Stacy Stocking; Lori Ware, Clare County Community Development director; Kathy Methner, MiWorks and Middle Michigan Development Corporation director; Nate Scramblin, MEDC CATeam; Karen Webber, MEDC RRC and James Espinoza, MSHDA CD.

Beadle said more people will be added to the team for various projects as needed.
Both the cities of Harrison and Evart have undergone a transformation of their main business districts with the addition of streetscapes. razing dilapidated buildings and installing ornamental street lighting.

Al Weinberg, director of Evart Downtown Development Authority, said the Rising Tide program will help make Evart user friendly to attract new business and retain existing business.

“This is a good thing for Evart. We have the history and infrastructure. We’re moving forward by building on the foundation we’ve already built. We put in over $700,000 of improvements from a Downtown Infrastructure Grant. There is a pocket park with a gazebo and public restrooms. The corners have bump out gardens. There are new trees and the rain gardens downtown are made to filter water to avert rainwater away from the storm sewer.”
Evart has an industrial park adjacent to the airport that has all the amenities such as utilities and Internet access.
“We are very excited and this is a fantastic opportunity,” Weinberg said.

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