by Peter Jakey
It could not have been more appropriate to have a TEAM Rogers City meeting the day after the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) announced that Rogers City had become the 25th Michigan Main Street (MMS) community.
TEAM Rogers City has been a gathering place for community leaders at a once-a-month meeting to talk about positive developments going in and around the city.
For more than two years, city officials had brought in various guest speakers to talk about the merits of the MMS program, and when Friday morning arrived last week at the UP North 23 Restaurant and Lounge, there was a sense of excitement in the air as Rogers City mayor Scott McLennan started the meeting.
“I think probably the thing that we should share first is that Rogers City has been designated the next MMS community,” McLennan announced, and on cue, those in attendance broke into a round of applause.
“Oh my, it’s been a crazy long run, but we are there and that’s what matters. It is such an astounding designation for a community that has approximately 2,800 people living in it.”
AS PART of the select level of MMS, Rogers City will receive five years of intensive technical assistance from the MEDC with a focus on revitalization strategies designed to attract new residents, business investments, economic growth and job creation to its central business districts.
“There are 533 cities and villages in the state of Michigan,” said Rogers City city manager Joe Hefele. “That puts it into perspective the class that we find ourselves in and with that small percentage, we are able to tap into grant dollars for our city and our businesses, and get MEDC help for ourselves and businesses, that 90 percent plus of the communities in Michigan are not able to get.”
“That starts next month, November,” the mayor continued. “The focus will also be on strengthening the core commercial districts, which in turn, drive economic growth throughout the community. Everyone benefits. You don’t want empty store fronts in your core downtown.”
MMS aims to create communities distinguished by a sense of place.
The rationale is based on a range of studies that show investing in creating a sense of place is an integral part of developing vibrant downtowns and commercial districts, thereby making the state economically stronger and culturally diverse.
(More on this story is in the Nov. 4, 2021 print edition of the Presque Isle County Advance. Call 989-734-2105 for subscription information.)