Ferndale Earns “Revelopment Ready” Certification

Ferndale Earns “Revelopment Ready” Certification

(Crystal A. Proxmire, May 16, 2017)

Ferndale, MI – Although Ferndale has been following “Redevelopment Ready” principles for years, they officially have joined the list of cities certified by the State of Michigan’s Economic Developmnent Corporation.

After a rigorous process of evaluation, planning and implementing best practices, the moment of glory finally came Monday night when the MEDC met with city leaders at Valentine Distillery to present the certification.

“What this does is it makes the process more transparent and easier to navigate,” said Mayor Dave Coulter.  “It’s hard to open a business.  It’s not just licensing, it’s building codes, fire codes, security issues.  …The reality is many communities view themselves as enforcers of the rules that businesses must follow.  What Redevelopment Ready does is it encourages you to look at people starting a business as customers and to help them navigate the process.  Not only does this help the business be successful, it brings jobs to the community and increases the tax base.  We want business to thrive here.”

Monday’s event took place at Valentine Distillery and focused on their business as well as Brass Aluminum Forging, which makes parts for motorcycles and guns.

Valentine’s founder Rifino Valentine spoke about having spent over a year going from department to department in Detroit trying to start his business and finding many roadblocks.  He said that within 24 hours of contacting Ferndale City Hall there was someone taking him out to show properties and walking him through the various processes. “Ferndale made it feel like they wanted me to be here,” he said.

Mayor ProTem Melanie Piana has a long history with the redevelopment ready concept.  She worked with the Suburbs Alliance in the early 2000s when the concept was just being developed.  The State of Michigan adopted the program and expanded it.  “They put more weight behind it and started making it available to communities all around Michigan.”

Ferndale is the third city in Oakland County to be certified through the MEDC program, preceded by Southfield and Lathrup Village. It is only the 12th statewide. Oakland County also offers a similar program that has certified 20 municipalities including Pontiac, Waterford, Hazel Park, Royal Oak and Wixom.  Both programs require a focus on streamlining processes for things like building permits, fire safety inspection, Brownfield credits, licensing, special land use permits, signage and lighting requirements, the planning commission process etc.

The MEDC report showed great respect for Ferndale’s Master Planning efforts.  “While any master plan update can take significant time and effort, the city of Ferndale’s master plan update went through an exemplary process of public engagement which created a longer timeline for completion. The plan that emerged from that process was well worth the wait and is something the city should be immensely proud of. Additionally, the city implemented a skills assessment and training program for its appointed officials/development staff, packaged redevelopment ready sites and created a unified marketing/branding strategy to guide the use of its logo, voice, and marketing partnerships,” the report stated.

The evaluation concluded by stating “Ferndale has worked diligently to achieve RRC certification and MEDC is pleased to welcome Ferndale to the ranks of RRC certified communities. The city’s willingness to invest in its plans, processes, policies and practices related to planning and economic development will pay dividends for years to come. The RRC designation indicates to developers and residents alike that the city has a predictable, efficient and transparent development process that welcomes investment as a way to help the community grow in line with its long term vision.”

For more on the City of Ferndale visit http://www.ferndalemi.gov/.

For more on MEDC’s Redevelopment Ready program see https://www.miplace.org/.

Previous stories:

MEDC Redevelopment Ready program: http://oaklandcounty115.com/2016/09/29/mml-6-state-helps-communities-become-redevelopment-ready/

City of Ferndale Master Plan: http://oaklandcounty115.com/2017/01/20/15-goals-from-ferndales-new-master-plan/

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