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Monday, 13 October 2014 08:45

Port of Muskegon development voted top priority for Regional Prosperity Alliance

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Port of Muskegon development voted top priority for Regional Prosperity Alliance MiBiz File Photo

Development of the Port of Muskegon was voted as the top priority going into 2015 for the West Michigan Prosperity Alliance at its monthly public meeting for October.

Leaders from Muskegon County are working to further develop the port as a logistics hub for the region. The group hopes to create a local food hub within the port and encourage increased traffic from the alternative energy industry. Additionally, the the group is petitioning the U.S. Coast Guard to allow river barges from the Mississippi River system to travel to Muskegon.

“It’s another step in the redevelopment of the Port of Muskegon,” said Terry Sabo, Muskegon County District 8 Commissioner and port representative. “This gives us the opportunity to give us the funding we need to connect the studies moving forward not only through the infrastructure phase but the organizational phase as well. Right now, we are getting requests to use the port but there’s really no organization to how we are going to function.”

The project requires $100,000 to conduct an infrastructure study along with $25,000 for an organizational structure study. The group expects a 50 percent match from the private sector for these studies.

[RELATED: Prosperity Alliance to boost regional collaboration]

The alliance plans to financially support these studies. However an exact amount will not be available until the 2015 budget is approved, said John Weiss, executive director of the Grand Valley Metro Council, the organization with fiduciary responsibility for the alliance.

Audience members – including local government, private sector and economic development leaders – decided the vote to determine the region’s immediate needs, said Weiss.

The establishment of a dedicated revenue stream for Lake Michigan watershed management and broadband connectivity projects were voted as the next two priorities for the alliance respectively.

The alliance was officially formed in January 2014 as part of Gov. Rick Snyder’s Regional Prosperity Initiative to create a region-centered economic support organization that combines business development, talent attraction and planning agencies to focus on development projects. The alliance encompasses Allegan, Barry, Ionia, Kent, Lake, Mason, Mecosta, Montcalm, Muskegon, Newaygo, Oceana, Osceola and Ottawa counties.

Read 3316 times Last modified on Friday, 17 October 2014 10:36

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