Council approves commitment to become a ‘ready community’

Dennis Mansfield, Contributing Writer

KALKASKA – The Village of Kalkaska has taken yet another step in becoming more competitive for potential grant programs and other forms of assistance, as a way to redevelop the community.

At its regular meeting Dec. 10, the Kalkaska Village Council approved staff efforts to proceed and commit the village to become a Michigan Redevelopment Ready Community.

Village staff has already been part of the MRRC program, completing training in June 2017 and the council passed a resolution just months later committing the village to participate in the program.

The village also participated in a self-evaluation in October of last year, making Kalkaska formally engaged in the certification process.

According to an executive summary of the MRRC report, presented to the council by Downtown Development Authority Assistant Director Gayenell Gentelia, the program will allow Kalkaska to strengthen collaborative efforts with area partners, retain existing talent and recruit new talent to the community.

“Being a Redevelopment Ready Community attracts new economic development to our community,” Gentelia said. “It shows we have excellent customer service and processes in place that helps developers better plan the timeline of their projects. It shows we are flexible and support development in our community.

To become MRRC certified, the village will need to continue “proactive efforts” in planning and zoning, solidify resources on its website and strengthen public outreach efforts.

“The master plan will need to include an implementation strategy with actions, timelines and responsible parties,” the summary reads. “Amendments to the tax increment finance plan will need to be made to address mix-use development elements.

“Finally, developing a marketing strategy to assist in prioritizing resources to best communicate with the public and outside investment must be created.”

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