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Growth & Investment Resources 

American Planning Association
Provides leadership in planning by providing resources, tools and support, and a wide range of educational opportunities including training and workshops, conferences, and online courses.

Brownfield Redevelopment Authorities
Any city, village, township or county can create a brownfield redevelopment authority (BRA) to facilitate cleaning up contaminated sites for redevelopment projects.

Corridor Improvement Authorities
Any city, village, or township can create a Corridor Improvement Authority (CIA) to help communities with financing improvements in commercial corridors located outside of their main commercial or downtown areas. 

Downtown Development Authorities
Can be created to spur development of a community's downtown district. Downtown Development Authorities (DDA) provide for a variety of funding options for downtown public improvements, offering a way to promote economic growth in community business districts. 

Form-Based Codes in 7 Steps: The Michigan Guidebook to Livability
The Michigan Chapter of Congress for the New Urbanism identifies form-based codes as the answer to Michigan’s need for zoning reform. The guidebook provides information about form-based codes and how communities can develop them.

Growth & Investment Area Studies and Commercial Corridor Inventories
A community asset inventory was used to identify areas in Northwest Michigan that are best positioned to accommodate future growth patterns that are anticipated for the region over the next 25 years. In order to gauge how these identified areas are growing, attracting economic activity, and implementing policies that maximize growth and investment potential, Networks Northwest prepared the following Growth & Investment Area Studies And Commercial Corridor Inventories:

Antrim County G&I Study and CCI
Benzie County G&I Study and CCI
Charlevoix County G&I Study and CCI
Emmet County G&I Study and CCI
Grand Traverse County G&I Study and CCI
Kalkaska County G&I Study and CCI
Leelanau County G&I Study and CCI
Manistee County G&I Study and CCI
Missaukee County G&I Study and CCI
Wexford County G&I Study and CCI

Land Bank Authorities
Can be created to manage tax-foreclosed properties more effectively. A number of planning, financial, and management tools are available to these authorities, allowing them to own property, or transfer, sell, rent, prevent eviction, or demolish; qualify for brownfield status; enter into a contract with private, public, or nonprofit agencies for redevelopment; and more.

Live Work Play
A website designed to attract talent and businesses to Northwest Michigan.

Michigan Association of Planning
Provides resources, educational content, and training to interested citizen stakeholders and planners. MAP is a chapter of the American Planning Association (APA).

Michigan Main Street Program
A revitalization program that utilizes community-driven, comprehensive strategies to encourage economic development. Communities receive technical assistance and services to help with the revitalization of historic downtowns and traditional neighborhood commercial districts.

Michigan Municipal League
A nonprofit dedicated to assisting municipalities through advocacy at the state and federal level and by providing services and events to help them sustain themselves.

Michigan Townships Association
A nonprofit dedicated to assisting and advocating for Michigan’s townships. 

New Designs for Growth Guidebook
The Guidebook demonstrates how thoughtful, quality design can improve our rural, suburban, and urban environments by creating sustainable developments of economic value that protect our natural resources. It includes proactive approaches to development in the region, and the techniques are applicable to both new development and to redevelopment projects.

Networks Northwest
A 10-county public agency providing workforce development, economic development, and regional planning services in Antrim, Benzie, Charlevoix, Emmet, Grand Traverse, Kalkaska, Leelanau, Manistee, Missaukee, and Wexford counties.

Nonprofit Needs Assessment for Northwest Michigan
A needs assessment was developed in 2013-2014 to identify challenges for nonprofit organizations in the ten-county Northwest Michigan region, relative to resources, capacity, leadership, revenue, and other issues. The report identifies potential opportunities for addressing challenges experienced by the region's nonprofits in order to better adapt to changing trends and complex community issues.  

Northern Michigan Community Placemaking Guidebook
A resource to help communities implement placemaking. It includes general and planning specific placemaking information, resources, and case studies from northwest Michigan.

Northwest Michigan Guides to Permitting and Zoning
Contact information, maps, and flow charts outline the development process in each community in Northwest Michigan. The guides are intended as an educational reference to assist individuals and businesses involved with construction and development projects.

Northwest Michigan Seasonal Population Analysis
The purpose of the Analysis is to provide a reasonably accurate estimate of the 2012 seasonal population—that is, the number of permanent, seasonal and transient residents by calendar month—for the Northwest Michigan counties of Antrim, Benzie, Charlevoix, Emmet, Grand Traverse, Kalkaska, Leelanau, Manistee, Missaukee and Wexford Counties. 

Northwest Michigan Visual Preference Survey
Visual preference surveys were conducted over the course of 2013 and 2014 for Antrim, Benzie, Charlevoix, Emmet, Grand Traverse, Kalkaska, Leelanau, Manistee, Missaukee, and Wexford counties. Results from the survey were used to develop the land use elements and activities of the Framework for Our Future. Information included in the reports identifies preferred development and design elements for commercial corridors. Reports for individual counties are available upon request. 

Redevelopment Ready Communities
A statewide certification program that encourages communities to work towards becoming development ready and competitive in the new economy. Participating municipalities receive evaluation support, expertise and consultation, training, and marketing assistance from the MEDC.  Visit for more information.

Small Business Development Center
The center provides startups, existing small businesses, and high-tech companies with no cost business counseling, training, and market research. Small business consultants are available in every county.

Thrive North was created to be an easy-to-use resource catering to those interested in economic development in Northwest Lower Michigan. The website contains everything from community and regional economic data, growth and investment information, knowledge of Economic Development Administration (EDA) programs, to help with a local planning commission permitting process. The website is streamlined for use by active real estate investors, developers, business owners and entrepreneurs. serves the ten-county region of Antrim, Benzie, Charlevoix, Emmet, Grand Traverse, Kalkaska, Leelanau, Manistee, Missaukee and Wexford counties.

Talent Resources

A Framework for Talent in Northwest Michigan

Northwest Michigan Manufacturing Needs Assessment

Northwest Michigan Hot Jobs Report 2018 Employer Roundtables 2015 - Summary

Growing Business with Workforce Housing

Employee Retention Guidebook - Full Version

Employee Retention Guidebook - Overview

The professionals at Networks Northwest help our City Council, Planning Commission, and staff make thoughtful decisions to ensure our community is sustainable and resilient for many years to come.
- Mark Heydlauff, Charlevoix City Manager