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The Michigan Economic Development Corporation, Talent Investment Agency, and Michigan State Housing Development Authority—collectively, the Talent and Economic Development (TED) team—committed their assets to mentoring ten communities across the state in order to empower them to shape their future and maximize economic potential. The communities, one in each of the State's Prosperity Regions, then charted a path to success, and Beckett & Raeder, Inc. was retained by the TED team to help them achieve it.


Together with a team of subconsultants, BRI provided holistic technical assistance to overcome gaps in local capacity and bring in new expertise. A work plan was developed for each community that addressed its individual needs while strengthening engagement in best practices. The effort was guided by Michigan's Redevelopment Ready Communities program, which certifies the integration of transparency, predictability, and efficiency into daily development practices. 


An impressive collection of deliverables resulted from the project, including master plan updates, zoning ordinance revisions, economic development strategies, communications plans, branding services, and site analyses. These were valuable pieces in each community's development toolkit. Perhaps more vital was the convening of each community's "players," as elected officials, staff, developers, business owners, agency representatives, and consultants took advantage of the opportunity to work together on action items. Every instance of cooperation and connection represented a step toward overcoming the larger structural barrier of limited capacity in these communities.


The project also sought to maximize potential benefits of connecting ten peer communities across the State. For example, as issues such as housing quality and intergovernmental coordination arose nearly universally, this wider-lens view offered opportunities to share information, solutions, and lessons from a variety of perspectives and conditions.

Project Rising Tide
A statewide initiative to provide at-risk communities with tools to build a successful economic framework
Economic Planning and Development Award, 2018

Michigan Association of Planning

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