Lake County Economic Development Alliance hosts 2022 community update

Economic and community development projects highlighted

Lake County Economic Development Alliance executive director Jodi Nichols addresses the audience during the annual community update recently.

Lake County Economic Development Alliance executive director Jodi Nichols addresses the audience during the annual community update recently.

Photo courtesy of LCEDA

BALDWIN — The Lake County Economic Development Alliance hosted a community update at Marquette Trails Golf Club recently.

The event, sponsored by Best Bear Lodge, Consumers Energy, Lake Osceola State Bank and Marquette Trails Golf Club was an opportunity for the volunteer led non-profit to thank supporters and share recent successes and plans for the future, said executive director Jodi Nichols.

Projects highlighted during the event included the 876 Baldwin restaurant and rental redevelopment project, and various other local small business assistance.  

Additionally, LCEDA board member Patrick Tiedt highlighted infrastructure work impacting businesses in downtown Baldwin and informed the audience of LCEDA’s role as Community Liaison for Broadband Expansion.  

“Thanks in part to support from Lake County Community Foundation, we will be meeting with township leaders and businesses to make sure providers understand where gaps are and will report out to the community on expansion progress as it is made,” Teidt said. “We will also be offering education to residents and businesses on broadband programs available and will pursue funding that could increase the number of residents served through expansion efforts. Improving broadband for all is not easy or quick work, but we are dedicated to ensuring that the needs of Lake County are known and addressed.”

County Administrator, Tobi Lake, spoke on the collaborative efforts happening to bring economic diversification and solutions to the county, following the closure of GEO Group’s North Lake facility.

“For our largest employer and largest taxpayer to cease operations is obviously an incredible hit to our economy,” Lake said. “But LCEDA, through its partnership with The Right Place, is working with state agencies and legislators to find economic solutions.  These include exploring reuse of the County-owned Technical Rules Violators Facility in Baldwin as well as resources to boost our tourism industry.”

LCEDA Board Chair, Matt Bearup of Best Bear Lodge in Irons reported further on the organization’s commitment to tourism development.  

“Building off of feedback we received from our Tourism Work Group earlier this year, Lake County Economic Development Alliance will be working to better promote Lake County tourism and its tourism related businesses, including developing the resources needed in today’s world to attract visitors and customers.”  

Those planned resources were elaborated on by Jodi Nichols, Executive Director of Lake County Economic Development Alliance, who shared the success that Newaygo County Tourism Council is having in boosting tourism as a volunteer-run organization and a small marketing budget.  

“The same success can be had in Lake County if we work together to build the tools needed to attract visitors to the area,” she said. “Lake County Economic Development Alliance is committed to leading that work.”

The event concluded with Nichols asking attendees to get involved with the economic initiative that is most important to them, saying “There are a lot of great things happening in Lake County and even more great things planned for the future, but it will take the input and support of all of us to bring the growth we all want to see.”

For more information on Lake County Economic Development Alliance, contact Jodi Nichols, Executive Director, at 231.742.3328 or nicholsj@rightplace.org.