Township board renews trade corridor membership

FLINT TWP. — Three years have passed since the Flint Township Board signed up as one of about 35 participating communities in the I-69 International Trade Corridor Next Michigan Development Corporation (NMDC).

The township’s three-year contract with the NMDC has expired, said Township Supervisor Karyn Miller, who presented the board with a choice of renewing for one year or three years. The board approved a one-year $3,000 contract, which also required a budget amendment to account for it.

Janice Karcher, vice president of economic development for the Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce, attended the board’s Monday meeting to highlight the benefits of maintaining the affiliation. The NMDC is collaboration between Shiawassee, Genesee, Lapeer and St. Clair Counties focused on promoting the region’s shared transportation assets (road, rail, air and water) and close proximity to Canada.

“After three years of operation, the (NMDC) has received recognition from around the country for its broad-based collaboration and the progress made in support of regional economic development,” Karcher said in a letter sent in advance with the 2014 dues invoice.

“The International Economic Development Council and other organizations have recognized and celebrated our success,” she said.

Addressing the board in person on Monday, Karcher added that the four-county collaboration along with the asset of Bishop International Airport has led to business opportunities that otherwise might not have been possible.

Economic development is heating up in Genesee County which is seeing a lower unemployment rate, Karcher said.

“Many companies we are working with are in a hiring mode,’’ she said. “There are jobs out there that don’t require a four-year degree including a number here in Flint Township.”

The NMDC is beginning to gain recognition as one of the strongest regional partnerships in the state, she said. Contacts outside of Michigan have recently contacted the NMDC for information about the benefits of economic collaboration.

Tracey Tucker, township economic enhancement director and Supervisor Miller represent the township at NMDC meetings. Other participants in Genesee County include the cities of Burton, Flint, Fenton, and Grand Blanc, the townships of Davison, Grand Blanc, Mt. Morris and Mundy and the Genesee County Board of Commissioners.

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