Benzie County and Manistee Alliance for Economic Success Enter Partnership to Grow Economy

A Northern Michigan county hopes a new partnership will help grow its economy.

Benzie County entered into a three-year partnership with the Manistee Alliance for Economic Success to stimulate their growth.

Up until now, the only group working to stimulate business in Benzie County was the Economic Development Corporation — made up completely of volunteers.    

This new partnership should be a game changer.

“What was lacking was boots on the ground. It wasn’t lacking the EDC corporation, they do a great job. But they’re volunteers,” said Benzie County Administrator Mitch Deisch.

There’s no one in Benzie County whose sole job it is to develop the economy.

So the Benzie County Commission approved a three-year partnership with the Manistee Alliance for Economic Success last week.

“Boots on the ground to actually go out and do the economic development. Doing retention visits with our industries and businesses here, helping individual businesses grow.”

The Alliance is going to spend the first year learning what people want.

They will focus on business and job development, community and resource development.

“Right now we’re working on the M-22 byway, pure Michigan byway designation. So M-22 all the way from Manistee County at U.S.-31 through Leelanau County,” said the Alliance’s Community Development Director Tamara Buswinka.

For now, the focus is priorities —

Then the Alliance will help secure grants to get the ball rolling on projects and the county infrastructure.

“Without infrastructure, and I’m talking sewer, water, broadband, it’s really hard for development to occur without proper infrastructure,” Deisch said.

The Alliance is trying to bring some small businesses into Frankfort right now.

This isn’t the first time Benzie County has reached out for help developing master plans.

Commissioners are confident this latest partnership will pay off. 

“They should start seeing some immediate returns on their investment. I think we should see growth in our economic climate, we should see growth in revenue coming in.”

Benzie County also has a goal of making its lakes and rivers more accessible to people who have physical limitations.