Economic Development, Government, and Small Business & Startups

SmartZone plans head to state for approval

January 22, 2016
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After receiving unanimous approval at the local level earlier this week, the Holland SmartZone action plans have been submitted to the Michigan Economic Development Corp. and the Michigan Treasury Department for final review and approval.

Designation requirements

The MEDC officially approved the designation of the satellite SmartZone in the city of Holland and Holland Township last November. As part of the process, the next step for the program was to present a business and tax increment financing, or TIF, plan to the Local Development Financing Authority Board, Holland City Council, Holland Charter Township Board of Trustees, MEDC and the Treasury Department.

Next steps

The city and township held public hearings on Jan. 20 and 21, respectively, for representatives from government, business and nonprofits to approve the long-term strategic plans. After both public bodies unanimously approved the business and TIF plans, the documents were sent on for state approval.

“We are so grateful for Lakeshore Advantage’s leadership and Holland Charter Township’s partnership to make this exciting development potential a reality,” said Nancy DeBoer, Holland mayor.

Lakeshore Advantage, which will serve as the executive director of the Holland satellite SmartZone and programming, has worked with the MEDC and expects the plans will be looked on favorably without any additional changes required.

Jennifer Owens, president of Lakeshore Advantage, said the program could not have happened without tremendous collaboration.

“We greatly appreciate the trust the community has put in our organization to lead the charge on this important initiative,” Owens said.

It is anticipated the state will approve the plans this spring.

Background

The Holland satellite SmartZone is expected to secure nearly $7.5 million in TIF dollars for programming, entrepreneurial support and infrastructure investment in an approximately 1,000-acre site along Lake Macatawa.

Craig Hall, chairperson of the Holland Local Development Finance Authority Board, said the Holland SmartZone will help focus and catalyze the startup environment and make a direct impact in the future of the community.

“This all will certainly not be without its challenges, but I truly believe that an exciting future awaits,” Hall said.

The SmartZone is governed by a 12-member local board that includes representatives appointed by the city, township, Ottawa County, Holland Public Schools and West Ottawa Public Schools. The board also has six ex-officio members.

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