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2017 Western Upper Peninsula Regional Prosperity Initiative Funded

The fourth year of the Western U.P. Regional Prosperity Initiative has been funded and is now underway.

The Regional Prosperity Initiative (RPI) was begun by the State of Michigan in 2014 as a means to encourage regional collaboration of organizations in a time of dwindling resources, overlapping goals, and competing priorities. Competitive funding has been made available since 2014 for regional and metropolitan planning organizations that have chosen to apply. The Western Upper Peninsula Planning and Development Region (WUPPDR), the planning and economic development organization serving the six western counties of the U.P., has been awarded $181,000 for 2017.

Over the last three years, WUPPDR has facilitated regular meetings of the Regional Prosperity Collaborative, the leadership group for RPI, to plan for and implement priority projects to benefit the regional economy and to promote efficiencies. A five-year plan was developed in 2014, and seven priority projects were funded for implementation in 2015 and 2016. In 2017, one of those projects will continue and six new projects will begin.

Projects new for 2017 are:

1. Energy Efficiency & Clean Energy Outreach: WUPPDR will partner with Region 1b and regional energy planning organizations to conduct outreach to local businesses and governments to increase awareness of funding for clean energy and energy efficiency, provide assistance with understanding energy expenses, and provide information about pre-existing support and assistance programs.

2. Brownfield & Blight Priority Database and Mapping: WUPPDR, in partnership with Michigan Technological University and the DEQ, will develop a database and map of potential brownfield and blight remediation projects. The project will include a survey of local government officials to identify priority blight and brownfield locations to assist with identifying and implementing resources for remediation. The priority locations map will serve as a communication tool for developers and communities.

3. Western U.P. Trails Database: WUPPDR, in partnership with trail groups, will collect and display information about trails and related recreation facilities using a standardized format for trail websites and mobile apps that assist tourists and local groups with planning recreation activities.

4. Placemaking Support: Building on placemaking projects funded in 2016, WUPPDR proposes to award $10,000 in matching grants for high-impact projects to foster vibrant communities.

5. Regional Geographic Information System (GIS): WUPPDR will develop a regional GIS, with a framework to sustain it through local fees, for managing, mapping, and increasing access to geographic data to further economic development and facilitate local government asset management.

Projects continuing in 2017 from previous years are:

6. Broadband Connectivity – 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.

7. Pure Michigan Regional Marketing Campaign for the U.P.: As in 2016, in partnership with other private and public entities, WUPPDR will contribute match funding to a U.P.-Wide Pure Michigan regional marketing campaign.

For more information about RPI projects and meetings, visit www.wuppdr.org/rpi; or contact Jerry Wuorenmaa, Executive Director, at (906) 482-7205, ext. 319 or jwuorenmaa@wuppdr.org.

For general information about the state initiative, visit www.michigan.gov/dtmb.

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