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Advantage Livingston report outlines accomplishments

Advantage Livingston’s executive committee has issued a report on the accomplishments of the strategic growth plan since it was unveiled in April 2011. More than 800 people across Livingston County worked on the plan, setting five broad strategies: Brainpower, Placemaking, Jobs & Prosperity, Marketing and Collaboration/Cooperation/Consolidation.

“We wanted the community to know that many of the goals they set have been accomplished, are near completion or under way,” said Rick Scofield, chair of Collaboration/Cooperation/Consolidation. “The spirit of Advantage Livingston has been embraced county wide. The work is being done by many individuals, groups, governments, businesses and nonprofits across the county.”

Highlights of the report that can be found at www.advantagelivingston.com include:

• Early childhood education has been expanded with the creation of the Livingston Promise which, with a $25,000 United Way grant, had a successful pilot program for 3 year old at-risk children during the 2013-2014 school year. The program will be expanded in 2014.

• With the goal to become wireless countywide, Livingston County was declared a Certified Connected Community, only the fifth community in the state to qualify for this recognition.

• The role and visibility of the Livingston County Economic Development Council has been expanded and enhanced as the EDC contracted with Ann Arbor SPARK to provide economic development services as part of a regional approach.

• Billboard promoting Advantage Livingston “Let your business thrive” are posted on both US-23 and I-96 in and around Livingston County. The billboard sends people to the Advantage Livingston website, www.advantagelivingston.com, with links to resources, information and the entire plan

• SPARK has created an entrepreneurial website section specific to Livingston County in addition to their general entrepreneurial website information.  An additional Livingston County specific Spark Business Services section has been developed to provide a comprehensive one stop resource reference.

• LegUP!, an entrepreneurial support group, has expanded and has provided education, resources and support and to date has served almost 1500 individuals. This program is a collaboration of the three chambers in the county, Cleary University, the county libraries, and SCORE.

• A video tour of Livingston County as an outstanding place to live, work and visit was produced in 2013. It can be found at the county’s website: www.livgov.com.

• Innovations in schools include programs like megatronics, aviation, robotics, fire fighting and building trades.

• Livingston County Planning Department created the Livingston County Permit Guide Book to provide a smoother path through various permitting and regulations for both residents and businesses.

• Millions of dollars in mixed use and commercial investment has occurred in the county’s downtowns, primarily in the two cities. These downtowns continue to be the identity of the communities they serve and the gathering place for young and old, as well as a stage for community events and celebrations.

• Collaboration and cooperation has increased between the chambers of commerce in the county, as well as local municipalities and cities.

The Advantage Livingston Executive Committee meets regularly and provides oversight and technical assistance to the various subgroups working on the initiative.  Members of the Executive Committee are:

Jobs and Prosperity: Ron Long

Marketing: Don Cortez

Collaboration/Cooperation/Consolidation: Rick Scofield

Placemaking: Derek Smith

County representative: Belinda Peters

Townships representative: Ann Bollin

Cities representative: Shea Charles

Greater Brighton Area Chamber of Commerce: Pam McConeghy

Hartland Area Chamber of Commerce: Jana Warford

Howell Area Chamber of Commerce: Pat Convery

MSU Land Policy Institute: Glenn Pape

The complete report is available at www.advantagelivingston.com.

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