(Crystal A. Proxmire, March 27, 2017)
Madison Heights, MI and Orchard Lake, MI – Madison Height is now the 22nd city to join the One Stop Ready Program offered through Oakland County, closely following Orchard Lake who signed on last week.
The program helps cities get better at attracting development and working with investors. According to Deputy Director, Oakland County Economic Development & Community Affairs Dan Hunter, “This is to capitalize on your strengths, this isn’t a top down program.”
Each municipality selects a liaison to attend trainings and networking, though anyone associated with the city, township or village can attend. Together they share ideas and best practices on topics such as ordinance changes, marketing of blighted properties, streamlining the permit process and other development tools.
There are also opportunities to meet with investors to discuss their needs, including the annual Property Showcase where each community is able to display a couple places they would like to see investment.
“Over the four years [since the program started] we’ve had about 20 communities participate, about a third of Oakland County,” Hunter said. He recalled one training where the Mayors of Pontiac and Auburn Hills stayed engaged in discussion to the point that they were still talking on their way through the parking lot when the building was finally closing. “You’d think they’d be competitors, but there they were sharing best practices. That always sticks with me,” he said.
The program is offered free through Oakland County with the intent of fostering growth county-wide. Members include: Highland, Groveland Township, Wixom, Clawson, Hazel Park, Royal Oak, Pontiac, Waterford, Troy, Oxford Township, Orion Township, Auburn Hills, Keego Harbor, West Bloomfield Township, Independence Township, Southfield, Oak Park, Lyon Township, White Lake, and Village of Oxford. There is no charge to join, although participation is limited, with Oakland County only adding on a couple of municipalities at a time.
Madison Heights Mayor Brian Hartwell supported the city joining. “Investment’s going to go where investment is welcome,” he said. “I look forward to our council embers meeting some of these Supervisors up in Northern Oakland County. They have to be really creative to attract business.”
Councilperson David Soltis shared his dream. “If you can help us redevelop the Kmart and the smoke stacks we would give you the key to the city,” he joked.
The resolution to join passed unanimously.
Check out last year’s Property Showcase at https://oaklandcounty115.com/2016/10/21/several-cities-showcase-one-stop-ready-properties-in-oakland-county/.