Leelanau Peninsula Economic Foundation filling EDC void

The Traverse City Ticker reports the Leelanau County finally has a replacement for the Leelanau Economic Development Corporation (EDC) that was dissolved in June of 2013:

Empire Bluffs ViewIncubated by the Leelanau Peninsula Chamber of Commerce, the Leelanau Peninsula Economic Foundation is a private sector nonprofit now led by a 12-member board of local professionals representing all facets of business on the peninsula, according to Julie Weeks, board director/secretary and owner of Womenable, an Empire-based consulting business.

Many Leelanau County business owners were left scratching their heads when the county’s EDC was dissolved amidst questions about the corporation’s relevance and efficacy. Commissioners also had differing opinions about government’s role in supporting business growth, with some noting it shouldn’t be involved in helping support private sector business. The decision prompted a community debate about growth in the county and how to achieve it.

…As a nonprofit, the foundation will be able to apply for grant dollars, as well as seek support from the county and county businesses. Foundation board member Weeks says the nonprofit has already conducted one-on-one interviews with several business leaders across the county on economic development issues, and will conduct a survey of business owners later this month – taking the pulse of the business environment and zeroing in on the “pain points.”

Some of those “pain points” will likely include long-discussed challenges of establishing and growing a business in Leelanau County – including how to foster economic development without compromising the county’s character, the lack of affordable housing for employees, inadequate Internet service and burdensome zoning regulations.

More at the Ticker and we’ll post links to the survey and more news when we get it!