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Planning and Economic Development

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eMacomb - Featured Article, Winter 2016

Looking back at 2015

As we look back on 2015, we pause to reflect on the many accomplishments of department staff and our partners to build business and develop community in Macomb County.  One of the most talked about is the role we played as official planner for the city of Utica as they worked with General Sports & Entertainment and a barrage of state and federal agencies to develop plans to build a semi-professional, independent league ballpark in the city‘s downtown.  Opening Day is scheduled for May 30.  See you there?

We are also excited by the opportunities presented by a $6 million grant from the Department of Defense Office of Economic Adjustment. It will help fund 15 major projects in the region that will benefit cross-sector industries that support the defense industry in the enhancement of robotics, automated systems, connected vehicle technologies and cybersecurity-related projects.

In fact, each of our four program areas made remarkable progress in significant areas:  

Economic Development

  • Our skilled and dynamic team met with officials from 252 companies to review possible ways that we could help them achieve greater success.  As a result, we were involved in 18 projects that led to the investment of more than $168 million, the retention of 4,377 jobs and the creation of 1,146 new jobs.  Highlighted investments last year include TransForm Automotive LLC, STANLEY Engineered Fastening (formerly Emhart Teknologies), Paslin, KUKA Systems North America and Art Van Furniture.
  • In an effort to evaluate and improve our team’s response to leads on attraction projects, we participated in a secret shopper interaction conducted by an impartial third-party retained by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.  We were pleased to receive high scores and eager to implement suggested enhancements to our website and materials. 
  • As a means to connect with global businesses, we hosted a group of Consulate Generals for the first time ever. 
  • We invited a group of statewide business attraction specialists to Macomb County for a familiarization tour.
  • We met with business executives and site selectors in Cleveland to proclaim the benefits of doing business in Macomb County. 
  • We partnered with the city of Mount Clemens and its DDA to host a tour for 40 potential investors.  The event netted favorable publicity and community investment prospects.     

Planning and Mapping Services

  • Provided contractual services for the Village of New Haven resulting in the development of a five-year comprehensive Master Plan and a Parks and Recreation Plan.
  • Currently working under contract with the city of Utica on a 15- to 18-month project to develop a five-year Master Plan.
  • Utilized the Macomb County Brownfield program to help secure $1.7 million in Clean Michigan Initiative and federal EPA funds to reimburse eligible cleanup activities at the new ballpark in Utica.   

  • Launched a new online mapping portal at  The portal site provides users with the ability to browse the department’s extensive library of map layers and mapping applications. Current mapping applications include Property Analyzer, Tax Delinquent Properties Search, County Road Construction projects and others.  The site also allows for local units of government to download parcel data on demand for their individual municipalities.  Coming in 2016, county departments and agencies will be able to use the portal site to build their own maps and share them as Web applications across most platforms including PCs, tablets and phones.
  • Hosted the 2nd annual Macomb County Assessors GIS Training.  The five-hour session introduced 25 local assessors to the department's Property Analyzer tools and provided instructions for using them in their daily assessment tasks.
  • Acquired our first-ever three-inch resolution digital aerial photography.  These enhanced photos will greatly improve our ability to conduct asset management inventories of key infrastructure elements such as traffic controls, pavement condition, flood control structures, etc. We also completed an extensive upgrade to our enterprise GIS system. The new system has reduced redundancy while boosting security and performance of the system to ensure that it operates dependably on a 24/7/365 basis.



    Land and Water Resources

    • A Lake St. Clair Access and Biological Impact Study funded by the Michigan Coastal Zone Management Program helped to identify 19 locations where it would be possible to increase or improve access to the lake.  The study includes proposals for five major coastal improvements including Schmid Marina, the Salt River Marsh, Harley Ensign Public Boat Launch, Clinton River Spillway Boat Launch and an area near the intersection of the Crocker and Jefferson in Harrison Township.
    • Partnered with the city of New Baltimore on a Sustainable Harbors study to help business owners and residents develop a vision for improving their downtown and natural assets.
    • Assisted the city of New Baltimore to secure funds from the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund to acquire two large tracts of land on Lake St. Clair including the Schmid Marina in New Baltimore and a parcel adjacent to the Clinton River Spillway Michigan Department of Natural Resources Boat Launch.
    • Partnered with the city of St. Clair Shores and the Nautical Mile Tax Increment Finance Authority to implement a Resilient Cities Program for short-term and long-term improvements to their business district. The plans include suggestions for improving pedestrian accessibility, lighting, streetscaping, wayfinding and mixed-use development.
    • Partnered with the Detroit Sports Commission and the Sterling Heights Regional Chamber of Commerce & Industry to host the BASS Elite Tournament.  Televised throughout the world on ESPN, the event included the first-ever BASS, BREW, and BBQ Festival featuring nearly 100 food, activity and special interest vendors.  Overall, nearly 25,000 people from Michigan, Ohio, Ontario and other parts of North America visited the spectacular beauty of Lake St. Clair.
    • Worked with the Clinton River Watershed Council to develop the Clinton River Paddle Map, a comprehensive guide to navigating the river from the headwaters in Oakland County to the mouth of the river in St. Clair Shores, utilizing funds from the Coastal Zone Management Office of the Great Lakes.
    • Organized the 4th annual Sprint and Splash for nearly 300 participants that offered 14 events including a 5K run/walk along the water, sanctioned stand-up paddle competition and kayak duathlon. 

    Outreach and Communications

    • Refreshed based on third-party feedback received from two external sources resulting in a more user-friendly and attractive site.  Our newly-added blog provides a forum for keeping our audience informed about business development and the work of our staff. 
    • Worked with staff from the County Executive Office to continuously improve and add value to the award-winning Make Macomb Your Home campaign including its website and social media assets.
    • Partnered with the Macomb Intermediate School District and 43 host sites to host Macomb County’s 3rd annual Manufacturing Day (MFG Day) for 1,772 students from all of Macomb County's 28 public high schools.  The project also received a NACo Achievement Award.
    • Hosted the 3rd annual Macomb County Business Awards for a crowd of nearly 400.
    • Published the 9th annual Macomb Magazine as well as the Blue Economy-targeted industry report.

    Related links:

    Department in the News -

    1/26/16 - Drone video gives aerial views of new Utica baseball stadium - Crain's Detroit Business