09/18/2019- While it’s being called a long game, Marinette County finally has a look at what the new era of local economic development could look like. Bay Lakes Regional Planning and Redevelopment Resources have been working collaboratively on an assessment of the county’s economic development organizational structure and made their formal report to the Board of Supervisors Tuesday. Kristen Fish-Peterson with Redevelopment Resources says the process included direct discussions with group of economic development committees, as well as interviews of the private and public sector. She says, when faced with the circumstance of more jobs available than people to fill them, Marinette County’s pursuit of economic development hinges on community development.
“Economic development 20 years ago really focused around attracting jobs and attracting businesses to a community. Now it has really changed- the wheel is spinning in the opposite direction. It’s more about attracting people to a community because the jobs are there. It’s about making your community attractive enough to get residents to move there so they will fill the jobs that are in the community.”
Fish-Peterson says the recommendation for the county is to invest in inVenture North and let them take the lead on economic and community development. She says it important to maintain an open line of communication to offer input and establish metrics to measure success, but ultimately says inVenture North, as a non-government entity, is better poised to take on this type of work.
“They are an organization that is already teed up to do this type of work. They have support from the private businesses sector, they have a lot of good relationships in the private sector. Businesses don’t see municipal boundaries. They don’t care about what’s in the county, what’s in the city, what’s in Michigan. They just want to have a solid workforce coming to their place of business to create their product.”
The County Board did not take any action following Tuesday’s report, but referred it to the county’s Development Committee for further discussion.