CADILLAC — Millions in new investment, 76 new daycare slots and 42 new housing units in development.
Those are some of the “wins" the Alliance for Economic Success (AES) highlighted for Cadillac City Council Monday evening.
AES is completing its third year in a three-year trial period to “facilitate economic development."
The project was funded by Baker College, Wolverine Power, Cadillac Casting Inc., Munson Healthcare, Cadillac Industrial Fund, VanDries Home Furnishings, Consumers Energy, Cadillac Downtown Fund, Chemical Bank, Rec Boat Holdings and Cadillac Chamber of Commerce.
AES Director Lisa Leedy told the Cadillac News she thinks the project will continue and she highlighted for city council all the project has done and is doing.
In 2017, AES conducted a housing study that was then given to developers; now, Cadillac Castle and Cadillac Lofts are bringing 130 new housing units to the area.
“We’re happy to have a small part of that; again, that was a collaborative effort with many different agencies in the area," Leedy said.
The AES project conducted the Cadillac West corridor study, helped the Wex apply for grants, and markets vacant commercial sites to businesses interested in the area. The project also helped the Little Bear Child Care expand to Cadillac, bringing 76 daycare slots to town via the McAuley Children’s Center.
Leedy spoke to city council about the indirect effects child care has on the economy.
“Child care doesn’t always come to everyone’s mind as a key factor of economic development but it actually impacts economic development significantly," she said.
The Mitchell Street Corridor was a major project that resulted in a re-visioning of the Clam River at Mitchell Street, with a park, recreational space and greenery. Whether that vision ever comes to be is yet to be determined, but the project also identified changes that would beautify and make Mitchell Street more welcoming. Those suggested changes included reducing business access points, changing signage, adding greenery, sidewalks, and bike lanes to the corridor.
Leedy also highlighted a MSHDA Neighborhood Improvement Grant that AES submitted in partnership with Habitat for Humanity. AES also helped Baker College and the Cadillac Area Human Resources Association apply for funding from the Consumers Energy Foundation for funds that would go toward improving local workers’ “soft skills."
One project is still underway; AES and partners that include real estate developers and other organizations are researching restaurant and retail leakage.
Leedy said she expected the results of that study later this month.