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City celebrates Redevelopment Ready certification

Alexander Sinn • Sep 29, 2018 at 2:00 PM

Grand Haven officials and local state lawmakers gathered at Grand Haven City Hall on Friday as the city received its Redevelopment Ready certification (RRC).

The designation puts Grand Haven on the map for developers and identifies sites in the city prime for new development.

Grand Haven is the 27th community in the state to join the Michigan Economic Development Corp. (MEDC) program and the second in Ottawa County.

The city has worked the past two years to fulfill RRC Best Practices, while many practices were already part of the city’s goals, City Manager Pat McGinnis said.

“This RRC process has helped us improve, has helped us very surgically identify all of those areas and say, ‘How can we get a little better?’” he said. “We’re not as good as we should be. We’re not as good as we can be.”

The city has worked toward developing a downtown plan, aligning zoning regulations and demonstrating public participation. Grand Haven is now eligible for state assistance to help provide incentives for developers, and the city will continue to explore improvements to its regulatory structure, according to McGinnis.

Three sites were identified as Redevelopment Ready: the former FirstMerit Bank property at 21 N. Beacon Blvd., the former Grand Haven Jewelry store at 224-226 Washington Ave. and the former Wendy’s restaurant property at 320-300 N. Beacon Blvd.

The certification is the result of numerous community organizations working hand in hand, said Joy Gaasch, president of the local Chamber of Commerce, and the program will help align mutual goals.

“We now know where to go, who to go to and who has the responsibility in different areas,” she said.

Representatives for U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Michigan, and U.S. Rep. Bill Huizenga, R-Zeeland, shared their support during the event. State Rep. Jim Lilly, R-Park Township, and state Sen. Arlan Meekhof, R-West Olive, also attended.

Lilly said the program is an example of government removing barriers for businesses.

“It’s really exciting to see so many local organizations partnering, and this public-private partnership really drives success,” he said. “This really shows and signifies to Michigan and the rest of the country that Grand Haven is open for business.”

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