5095 4th Street
Eagle River, Michigan 49950


Keweenaw County Economic Development Committee
5095 4th Street
Eagle River, Michigan 49950

Committee Members:

Todd Holmstrom, Chairman
Tess Ahlborn, Secretary
Peg Kauppi
Harvey Desnick
Ned Huwatschek
Matt Kero
Joe Miller
Sam Raymond
Kass Simila
Don Piche

Contributing Members:
John Sturos
Rob Tarvis
Tom Bryant

Committee Meetings:
Keweenaw County Courthouse 5095 Fourth Street, Eagle River MI
1st Wednesday of each month, 6:00 pm

Services Provided:
Keweenaw County has an Economic Development Steering Committee that was created by the county board. The Committee currently consists of a committee of the whole, meaning that members of the county board as well as voluntary participation by citizens of the community are involved. The county board may assist the EDSC by loaning or contributing funds, but the most important relationship has to do with the requirement that EDSC plans must be submitted to the county board for approval. The EDSC must also file an annual report with the county board.

What is a CEDS, County Economic Development Strategy?
The Western U.P. Planning and Development Region published a narrative “Keweenaw 2000, Economic Adjustment Strategy for Keweenaw County” in May, 1997, which listed projects that each township within the county felt were needed for improving economic stability. Since that time, the county has annually updated the status of projects to incorporate into the Community Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) which is required by EDA for funding eligibility. The 2007 projects submitted for funding consideration include:

Renovate/Rehab Former Calumet Air Force Radar Station,
Mt. Bohemia Ski Hill/Lac La Belle Courthouse Improvements,
Industrial Park, Construct Infrastructure (Allouez Twp)

Also, the Friends of the Land of Keweenaw (FOLK) issued a comprehensive report covering the Keweenaw Peninsula: Investing in the Keweenaw's Future - Moving Towards Sustainable Development, a progressive report which introduced the concepts of sustainability that are now widely accepted.

Why do we want an Economic Development Plan?
One of the things we first think of is the need to develop an industrial park and wait for the potential users to come and occupy the facilities, but the rewards can be very slow in coming. The first objective should be to retain the jobs that presently exist in the county. Once present employment is relatively secure, begin to think about expansion through a close examination of the county’s strengths and weaknesses in relation to industrial or commercial prospects.

Inventorying resources needs to be high on the list of activities of the EDC.
Gathering, assembling, and analyzing inventory data may provide some insights as to the types of enterprises that may find the county to be an attractive location.
An EDC board must put together a fairly detailed plan before buying property or establishing a project. All of this is preparatory to seeking the required approval from the board of county commissioners.

What is the role of an Economic Development Plan?
The central purpose of a plan is to encourage business activity, industrial development, and job formation. Development impacts extend beyond simply jobs and income. There is a need to evaluate the full impacts of any type of development event.

First, a common misconception is that economic development is someone else’s problem or that it occurs naturally. Communities that are successful in economic development, however, have invariably organized themselves and their resources to address the concerns of economic development and community change.

Second, communities have multiple interests and objectives that are often perceived to be in conflict. The active participation of interested parties oftentimes reduces perceived conflict between competing community goals.

Third, successful development planning requires an examination of all aspects of the community so it’s important to have a broad, diverse group involved in the planning process. For in-migration of industries, the relevant questions that need to be addressed include setting aside land for industrial development, insuring that public infrastructure services are in place, and that the nature of the targeted businesses are complementary to the broader goals of the community.

A significant source of new business development comes from firms that are “home-grown” and have a greater sense of community commitment. A significant proportion of job and income opportunities originate within the existing local firms. The more efficient firms are the more they can return economic wealth to the community.

Examples of specific community-based initiatives to help existing business remain competitive:

  1. Strengthening management capacities of existing forms through educational programs.

  2. Encouraging business growth through identification of equity and loan capital sources.

  3. Increasing knowledge of new technology through educational programs in science and engineering.

  4. Aiding employers in improving work force quality through educational programs, counseling, and social services.

  5. Developing of community and regional facilities that improve local business efficiency and access to non-local markets.

  6. Identification of market potential for new retail, wholesale, and input-providing business.

Examples of specific activities that local communities can pursue to attract new businesses include:

  1. Development of local industrial sites and public services

  2. Dissemination of labor information to potential employers

  3. Develop transportation, recreational, communication, and service facilities necessary to attract new employers

  4. Identify and organize community capital resources to assist in attracting new business (revenue bonding, bank loans)

Click here for the complete inventory (PDF File) compiled in 2000 by WUPPDR.
A number of these projects have since been completed.



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