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Tri-Counties want state focus on Mid-Michigan

Posted: 7:26 AM, Jun 09, 2016
Updated: 2016-06-09 07:26:13-04

With the signing of a document. Ingham, Eaton, and Clinton counties started working with the Chamber of Commerce to get lawmakers to focus more on Mid-Michigan.

The first project for Board of Commissioners in Ingham, Eaton, and Clinton counties along with Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce is to improve Michigan Avenue.

"Our state representatives certainly need to be focusing on the tri-county region" said Eaton County Board of Commissioners Chair Blake Mulder. "This is where the growth is, this is where their residents are."

The group believes legislature hasn't done enough to allow Mid-Michigan to grow.

"Bring dollars to Mid-Michigan don't send it to Grand Rapids. Don't send those dollars to Detroit," Mulder said. "Let's work on Mid-Michigan areas because we have a lot to offer."

They want those dollars to be spent on fixing what they call the state's welcome mat, Michigan Avenue.

"Michigan Avenue is the corridor, people see when they come to the region and if they're looking at a beautiful site that has good streetscapes they're gonna think highly of the region itself" said Mulder.

To the group, Lansing is like the heart of the body and Michigan Avenue being a major road is like one of the arteries that runs through the body (Lansing).

If you improve Michigan Avenue, it'll bring more businesses and more young people will work in the city and then live in one of the Tri-counties.

"The indirect benefit to us is that it provides more employment opportunities for people that choose to live in our prospective counties" said Clinton County Board of Commissioners' chair, Robert Showers. "Counties live and die on property tax."

That need for property tax growth is why, Michigan State economics professor and director of the Center for Local Government Finance & Policy, Eric Scorsone, says these counties are working together to improve Lansing.

"Their property values benefit when there is a stronger core" Scorsone said. "Their job opportunities are better. So everybody benefits in the region when we have a strong core."

While Michigan Avenue is the first priority for the committee, they also hope to work together to better support other regional economic growth and policy initiatives. They also commit to working together to lobby the state government to modify the formula for revenue sharing.

All three county boards will have someone on Lansing's financial health team, again to show that building Lansing up will benefit everyone.