Lake County Economic Alliance helps local businesses

Over $60,000 in grants awarded

LAKE COUNTY -- Over the course of the year the Lake County Economic Alliance worked with the help of a local volunteer committee to distribute Small Business Relief and Small Business Restart Grant dollars from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) to local businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In Lake County, a total of $60,300 in grant funds were distributed to 23 small businesses in the community. The Lake County Community Foundation also matched $6,044 as part of the first round of grant funding in April.

In addition, two Lake County businesses were approved to receive $50,000 each as part of the Small Business Relief loan program.

As part of the Lake County Economic Alliance's aim to strengthen its rural areas' readiness for business growth and attraction, the Alliance worked with the Village of Baldwin and the Baldwin DDA to convene with local utility companies and lower $100,000 in costs to increase feasibility of an alley redevelopment and to bring broadband access to a greater number of residents.

Additionally, the Alliance assisted the Village with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) Redevelopment Ready Certification process and instituted an Obsolete Property Rehabilitation Act District, resulting in $450,000 in project gap funding, along with future tax savings towards a proposed $1 million multi-use redevelopment of an obsolete building in downtown Baldwin.

Since forming a partnership in 2018, The Right Place and the Lake County Economic Alliance have collaborated to strengthen Lake County's rural communities and support its readiness for business growth and attraction.

While 2020 disrupted the world and posed several unprecedented challenges for our community, the Alliance pivoted to meet the new needs of local businesses, facilitating 127 business assists in Lake County throughout the year.

This is an increase of more than 605% from business assists in 2019, emphasizing the need for economic development resources, especially in times of difficulty.

The Alliance also worked extensively with the Village of Baldwin to support redevelopment and revitalization efforts in the community.

With our assistance, Lake County was able apply for and receive Brownfield redevelopment funds from the Michigan Office of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) amounting to $300,000, which was used to support the transformation of a blighted, contaminated property, creating a usable space that now houses a new Dollar General store.

Enduring the ripple effects of this pandemic has not been easy or straightforward, but our communities have shown a resilience and spirit of determination that will continue to be a guiding force as we make our way to a healthy and prosperous recovery.

To keep this partnership active and maintain the availability of economic development resources in our county, the Lake County Economic Alliance needs your support. We ask that you join our efforts to sustain this regional partnership and work alongside us to create lasting economic prosperity for our community.

For more information contact Jodi Nichols at nicholsj@rightplace.org, visit rightplace.org/lake, or contact the Lake County Economic Alliance at (231) 742-3328.