City unveils campaign’s ‘Main Street Charm’ at LEDC meeting

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LEDC Executive Director Jim Van Doren (left), pictured with Executive Director of the Lenawee County Education Foundation, Janet McDowell, met with community leaders in Tecumseh. Photo by Deb Wuethrich.

Tecumseh Economic Development Director Paula Holtz shared “hot off the press” Pure Michigan! campaign information for the city at the Wednesday, Nov. 7, Lenawee Economic Development Corporation (LEDC) meeting. As various community administrators shared success stories with others present at the Tecumseh Community Center Glass Room, Holtz said Tecumseh has partnered with around 20 organizations for its upcoming spring and summer Pure Michigan! Campaign.

“These will be radio ads with voiceovers by Tim Allen,” Holtz said. “They are proposing ‘Main Street Charm that’s Pure Michigan’ as our brand.” She added that the materials would focus on the area’s abundant natural beauty, featuring Tecumseh’s 350 acres of green space, trails and waterways, along with pointing to “Today’s Hometown,” showcasing the city’s boutique shopping, parades and festivals. Other areas of focus would include “Stay to Play,” highlighting the recreational experiences available locally without having to travel far away for them, and accentuating the area’s food offerings, such as at Boulevard Market, Evans Street Station and The British Pantry, among others.

Holtz said a script should soon be arriving as a next step, and ads would also be placed in prominent places as part of the campaign.

Mayor Richard Johnson opened the LEDC meeting, which was called, “A Vision of Lenawee County.” He said one of his main reasons for running for mayor was to be able to participate in all the economic development opportunities going on.
“Every unit brings a unique element to complete a project,” he said. “We all have different things to offer and it’s important to make prospects feel the best possible offer is being brought to them for their approval.”

Local community leaders and economic developers were encouraged to report progress over the past year. Tecumseh City Manager Kevin Welch shared a little of the Tecumseh Community Center’s history in a fun way, offering small prizes for answers to his trivia questions. He also noted that things were “going pretty well” in the city.

“We’re very busy, and the retailers are doing fairly well with our downtown 90 percent occupied, and it’s been that way for the past few years,” he said. He also noted industrial success stories such as Lenawee Stamping’s (now Van Rob Tecumseh) continued growth. Tecumseh has its own economic development department, but partners with the LEDC and others in working to attract and retain business in the community.

“We’re very pleased with our relationship with the LEDC, the MEDC, and South Central Michigan Works!” Welch said. “I don’t think there could possibly be a better team of people to plan and bring jobs to this county. From our viewpoint, Lenawee County is a very attractive place to do business.”

LEDC Executive Director Jim Van Doren noted that people were a little skeptical at first when Gov. Rick Snyder regionalized the various economic development entities, placing Lenawee County in Region 9, along with Washtenaw County and others.

“But we now think we were put into the right region and are happy to be there,” said Van Doren. “What better region to be in than to have A2SPARK [Ann Arbor’s Economic Development group] to lead your region?” He said that he was pleased at how well all the local Lenawee County representatives were getting along and how closely everyone was working with everyone else. Tom Tarleton, Business Development Manager of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, was also present to talk about the governor’s vision and goals for reinventing Michigan.

Paul Krutko, a Region 9 partner who is president and CEO of A2SPARK said the group is very pleased to be working with partners in adjacent counties, and described how the governor, coming from a business background, had put together the various business development professionals into regions.

“Our region isn’t competing with Lenawee,” he said. “We’re competing with Rio and Shanghai and other places. The more we work as a region, the better chance we’ll have to compete.”

Van Doren also said that LEDC’s 2012 budget looks pretty good, having been held together primarily through private funding after the group was restructured. He noted that the LEDC is working with the Lenawee County Commission toward a possible contractual arrangement for some funding on the 2013 LEDC budget, which could lead to some flexibility in marketing, an area that was taken away with the reorganization. County Commission Chair John Tuckerman was also present at the meeting.

Tim Robinson, Director of Operations, also shared some information about potential business development opportunities “in the pipeline” for Lenawee County. While a lot of the activity is in the area of business retention, investments and job growth on the industrial side, Robinson said there have also been some retail and service opportunities surfacing.

Van Doren also mentioned an ongoing project that partners in Lenawee County are getting behind to work with the Adrian/Blissfield Railroad spur to hook into an Ohio line extension into Toledo.

“There’s no funding available for it right now, but hopefully when things in Washington settle down, we want to be ready if funding opens up,” Van Doren said. “This spur would give our county high growth potential for agricultural and industrial areas.”j




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