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GRAND RAPIDS — Finding funds for much needed services like infrastructure improvements is challenging when local governments are in a constant cost-cutting mode.

The Grand Valley Metro Council, tasked with finding funding to maintain the city's roadways and other mobility issues, has used a Pavement Management System (PaMS) to track the condition of local infrastructure, including signage, since 1995.

GRAND RAPIDS — Much to the chagrin of his wife and son, Phillip Johnson likes to spend time in airports when he is on a family vacation — an airport often tells the unvarnished truth about a community, he reasons. 

"If they have a vibrant airport, they a have a vibrant community," said Johnson, deputy executive director of the Kent County Department of Aeronautics in Grand Rapids. "If the airport is dying, the community is probably dying. There's exceptions, but that is pretty much the case."

WEST MICHIGAN — Five West Michigan companies received support for corporate expansions thanks to incentives approved May 23 under the new Michigan Business Development Program.

As one of the city's market construction projects wraps up its initial phase, another one begins to take shape.

That was the message from architect Ted Lott of Lott3Metz and Craig Nicely, principal and architect for Design Plus, at the River to Markets forum held at the Wealthy Theater in early May.

Ten years ago Jeff Padden noticed that "there wasn't much to talk about" in terms of entrepreneurial activity on Michigan college campuses. Today, a cultural shift is in full swing and all of Michigan's 15 public universities have in some form embedded entrepreneurism, both in academic programming and community outreach, as a core part of their mission, according to new survey data.

Business advocates view a proposal to reform Michigan’s personal property tax as another solid step toward improving the state’s business climate and competitiveness.

A low-key but high-powered group of West Michigan influencers and business leaders thinks it’s time to put the rapids back in the Grand. They want to restore a 2-mile-long section of the namesake river flowing through downtown Grand Rapids to attract whitewater enthusiasts.

Stephen Benoit knows unequivocally that his current company would not have been able to start up and get to where it is today without the help of capital from West Michigan.

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation is trying to dispel rumors by letting developers and community officials know money is still available for redevelopment projects.

Imagine what Southwest Michigan would be like if it were really a bedroom community for Chicago. That could happen if a proposed high-speed rail project falls into place, but experts caution it could be years before it takes shape.

Michigan needs to do less hunting and more gardening when it comes to economic development

Gas price impact on tourism negligible

Written by | Wednesday, 04 April 2012 09:09 |

Even amid high gasoline prices, Michigan’s tourism industry should have a strong year in 2012, Michigan State University researchers say. An annual outlook from MSU projects a 3 percent increase this year in travel volume over 2011 and a 6 percent increase in travel spending. Travel prices should grow 3 percent over a year ago.

The Pure Michigan tourism campaign had its strongest returns and paid its greatest dividends in 2011, as the brand gained further traction nationally and drew more people to the state.

Wolverine World Wide Inc. Chairman, President and CEO Blake Krueger joined his colleagues from around the state last week at the Business Leaders for Michigan CEO Summit in Detroit. His point during a panel discussion: After a decade of tough times, now is a great time to invest in Michigan, which is recovering economically faster than almost every other state in the nation.

John Weiss takes over as head of the Grand Valley Metropolitan Council at what he sees as an opportune time to promote greater cooperation among communities and stronger collaboration with the private sector.

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