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West Michigan groups teaming up to attract businesses, jobs

Lindsey Smith
Michigan Radio
A former GM stamping plant in Wyoming would be a good candidate for the special incentives. US-131 and a railway line run right next to the property.

Two economic development groups, one from Grand Rapids and another in Muskegon are asking the state of Michigan to approve a regional economic development corporation. It could provide marketing and tax incentives for a narrow purpose; to attract businesses that need property with two or more modes of transportation.

Rick Chapla is with The Right Place. It’s a non-profit group that works to maintain and attract business to the Grand Rapids region. He says certain companies want their property to have access to a railroad and an airport, or a port and a highway. Chapla says they want to attract the best suited businesses for those locations.

He says biomedical companies with time-sensitive samples or tissues are one of their targets.

“Another type of use that may be more reasonable and more in line with manufacturing could be the inbound receipt of certain parts and pieces of wind turbines,”Chapla said.

The wind turbines could be manufactured in West Michigan and then shipped by boat or rail to be installed somewhere else.

It is a niche-market. But the two groups think it’ll work. They hope to form the partnership by the end of the year. If the state approves the agreement, the groups will be able to provide special tax incentives for companies that chose to locate there.

Similar efforts are also underway in Detroit and Traverse City.

Lindsey Smith helps lead the station's Enterprise Team. She previously served as Michigan Radio’s Morning News Editor, Investigative Reporter and West Michigan Reporter.