WMRPC'S CURRENT PLANNING PROJECTS
Ongoing Planning Projects
The Region has several ongoing programs, including the Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS). This program is funded by the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) and involves an annual process of collecting information about the region related to economic and community development. The Region facilitates the process that includes the CEDS Committee, comprised of economic developers from across the Region. The CEDS process is the first step for communities wishing to receive EDA grants for economic development projects such as infrastructure improvements, industrial parks, or other improvements related to jobs and the economy. Since 2006, EDA has required that the CEDS Committee be comprised of representatives from both the public and private sector, and the WMRPC has worked with our member communities to bring private sector representatives to the Committee. Another change relates to the fact that our EDA grant cycle, and the entire CEDS process is now a three-year process, instead of a one year program – so every three years a complete CEDS document is created, with interim CEDS documents developed during the other two years of the cycle. Between 2008 and 2010 the CEDS process generated $12 million in grants from EDA to our member communities.
Another ongoing program is with the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT). The Region maintains a work program with MDOT that involves technical assistance to MDOT and local communities related to transportation planning. The WMRPC performs transportation studies across the region and for specific corridor studies such as the M-40/M-89 Corridor in Allegan County, the M-104 Corridor in Ottawa County, and the M-66 Corridor in Ionia County. The WMRPC was key in initiating the Greenville Area Transportation Committee in June 2007. This Committee studies transportation issues in the Greenville Area and involves many communities, three counties, law enforcement, MDOT, road commissions, and many other interested groups.
Since 2003 each of Michigan’s Regions have been very involved in a transportation program called Transportation Asset Management. The program involves creating an inventory of road conditions across Michigan to determine how to implement the “right fix at the right time” to best maintain the State’s roadways.
Special WMRPC Projects
The WMRPC worked with MDOT to develop a map of bicycle facilities in MDOT’s “Grand Region,” which includes the counties of Ionia, Kent, Mecosta, Montcalm, Muskegon, Newaygo, Oceana, and Ottawa. MDOT requested that the WMRPC develop a map of non-motorized facilities to assist bicyclists in navigating the network of trails, and the traditional transportation network, across the eight county area.
Another special project that is currently ongoing is a joint initiative with the Michigan Association of Regions and Michigan State University’s Land Policy Institute (LPI). Each of Michigan’s 14 regions is developing “Strategic Growth Plans” with the assistance of LPI. LPI also provided New Economy classes and training across Michigan. Closely related to this initiative is a statewide initiative titled Shared Services Initiative. While sponsored by a different organization (the State of Michigan and the Michigan Municipal League Foundation) it has a similar goal of moving Michigan’s communities forward.