Regional Prosperity Initiative funded for third consecutive year

HOUGHTON – For the third consecutive year, the Western U.P. Regional Prosperity Initiative has been funded and is now underway, according to a press release from the Western Upper Peninsula Planning and Development Regional Commission (WUPPDR).

WUPPDR, the planning and economic development organization serving the six counties of the western U.P. has been awarded $185,000 for 2016 for a number of projects.

Over the last two years, WUPPDR has facilitated regular meetings of the Regional Prosperity Collaborative, the leadership group for the Regional Planning Initiative, to plan for and implement priority projects to benefit the regional economy and promote fiscal and administrative efficiencies.

A five-year plan was developed in 2014 and six priority projects were funded for 2015 implementation, the press release stated. In 2016, some of those projects will continue, and five new projects will begin.

Two projects continuing in 2016 are the Economic Development Service Delivery and Broadband connectivity, according to the release. The first one will provide a single point of contact for businesses and individuals to be connected with business assistance services offered by multiple organizations. The second project will conduct research and planning to gain information and address deficiencies in access to broadband Internet service throughout the region, and to begin implementation of action plans, the release stated.

Five new projects will also be implemented this year, including an Energy Inventory; a Career and Technical Education Marketing and Needs Assessment; Nonprofit Organizations Asset Inventory and Needs Assessment; place-making Support and Mini Grants; and a U.P.-wide Pure Michigan Regional Marketing Campaign.

Each of these projects is designed to determine particular deficiencies and needs throughout the six-county region. Formalizing a collaborative relationship among local and regional partners will permit the state, private and nonprofit stakeholders to work closely with local and regional decision makers throughout the state to support efforts for increased economic prosperity.