West Michigan In The News
With a $29 million boost from the feds, Grand Rapids' sleek train-like Bus Rapid Transit line will bring riders to the central city in style, increasing mass transit options and further accelerating the revitalization of Michigan's second largest urban area.
After successfully completing the renovation and new construction of nearly a dozen elementary and middle schools, the Grand Rapids Public Schools is ready to tackle the renovation of several high schools and the creation of several specialized learning programs.
A commitment to diversifying the economy, strengthening education, and healthcare for every family topped Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm's list of investments necessary to accelerate the state's economic transition.
The development boom in Grand Rapids shows no sign of slowing down and, as developers pursue tax incentives to keep costs down on new downtown projects, whole neighborhoods are pursuing historic status to keep certain types of development at bay.
Historic droughts around the US, water bottling plants tapping Michigan's underground water, and a push to clean up the Great Lakes Basin have all focused attention on the state's water wonderland. Muskegon residents recently voiced their opinion about where their water goes and how it's used.
A variety of green infrastructure projects and initiatives in West Michigan will continue under new leadership as an interim project manager for the West Michigan Strategic Alliance takes the helm. Objectives in 2008 include safeguarding critical areas of biodiversity, protecting shoreline, promoting regional trails and greenways, and more.
With dozens of manufacturers across the state chomping at the bit to jump into the alternative energy business, the Michigan Senate is considering a package of bills that would require Michigan to obtain 10 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2015.
Design as a viable industry and driving economic force in West Michigan may be becoming a feasible, marketable product, and regional leaders are proposing plans for a Design Thinking Institute, a program to recognize good design publicly, and a plan to create a design-based curriculum for elementary school students.
The construction boom in downtown Grand Rapids employs countless workers, and one group's goal is to bring ethnic and gender diversity into that workforce through skills training and by creating a pool of workers who are job ready.
As West Michigan struggles to regain its footing as a key player in the automotive manufacturing sector, out-of-state investors are taking interest in the region's manufacturing capabilities and skilled workers.
Banks, hotels, medical offices of every shape and size, a new YMCA, educational facilities, restaurants, and more are springing up, or about to spring up, in and around the new medical complex that spurred all the development, ultimately bringing thousands of jobs to Michiganís fastest growing township.
A much-anticipated project to revitalize a prime corner of downtown Grand Rapids with a new art gallery, apartments, retail, and parking received preliminary approval. Developers still face a complicated path of tax credits and other financial matters to make the deal a reality.
West Michigan's commercial properties are catching the eye of out-of-state investors and last year's estimated $150 million in property investment is the proof.
Although many West Michigan businesses have reduced their workforce in the past year, a recent survey reveals that 52 percent of companies with under 50 employees plan to add technology staff in 2008.
The opportunity to expand to West Michigan clinched the deal for a Detroit-area food producer looking to expand its brand and increase its capacity.