Group Works to Make Traverse City Northern Michigan’s First Smartzone

“This really is a community based approach to try and have the MEDC see that we really should be at the table.”

Groups are partnering together to make Traverse City Northern Michigan’s first Smartzone.

It’s a program currently in 20 other cities across the state.

But there’s a gap in the Northern Lower Peninsula and the question is, could Traverse City fill that void?

“This will be a huge tool in our tool box to help Grand Traverse, the region at large, thrive,” Max Anderson, executive director, TC Area Chamber of Commerce said.

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation created Smartzones.

“What it is, is a community of cities across the state that are investing in technology in their communities and in their economies,” Michael Naughton, treasurer, Grand Traverse EDC said.

Right now there is a gap in the Northern Lower Peninsula.

But organizations are partnering together to try to make this a reality.

“We have a task force who are setting up a proposal that would have to go to the Michigan Economic Development Corporation but there also has to be legislation in Lansing that opens up the application process,” Naughton said.

“We talk a lot about public and private partnerships and the importance of them and what role they play in moving the proverbial ball forward this is going to play a big role in it,” Anderson said.

If Traverse City does become a designated Smartzone, the technology would help the businesses already in the area.

“It’s men and women that are on this board, Smartzone and technology isn’t just something that’s for boys and what we’re really excited about for this is we have a group of young professionals that see the value in this,” Naughton said.

It may be in the early phases now, but those involved are hopeful for the future.

“The bottom line is we want to see this happen for Traverse City, we think Traverse City’s ready for this and we think that Traverse City needs this as part of a plan to move forward into the future,” Anderson said.