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April 19, 2018 5:13 pm

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Michigan Port Collaborative Awarded Grant To Do "Full Spectrum" Economic Impact Study Of MI Ports

   The Michigan Port Collaborative (MPC) has received official notification from The Michigan Waterways Commission that the organization’s grant application to do a “Full Spectrum” economic impact study of Michigan ports has been approved.
        The MPC has been involved in representing the Ports of Michigan for over a decade on issues that are critical to the economic success of all Michigan ports, whether large or small, including for the Saugatuck-Douglas area.  
        Following a disappointing legislative effort in 2012 to obtain funding for non-commercial harbors from the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund legislation (WRDA), ports now face a threat to all  “Blue Economy” jobs, by the recent announcement that the Trump Administration plans to eliminate all Great Lakes Cleanup funding. Acknowledgement of the “economic importance” of Michigan harbors at the state and federal levels has been under assault since lake levels dropped drastically in 2009.
        In fact, the current trend of thinking in many of state and local agencies is that harbors are an economic liability.
        According to Felicia Fairchild, chairman of the state-wide organization, “We represent the ports of Michigan and we want to change that thinking. Michigan harbors are the front doors to our communities.”
        The Michigan Port Collaborative, through the City of Alpena, applied for a grant from the
Michigan Water Ways Commission to conduct a “full spectrum” economic impact study of the ports of Michigan.
        “Several economic impact studies already exist but they are not ‘full spectrum,’” says Fairchild. “Most do not include all ports, nor do they include economic drivers for individual ports other than traditional maritime measurements.”
        For example, many ports attract tourists because of attributes unique to their port communities; however tourism dollars and additional factors that add economic value to port communities have not been included in previous studies. MPC believes the results of a “full spectrum” study will quantify that the economic value of Michigan ports is far greater than previously acknowledged by state and federal agencies.  
        The MPC will use the results of this study to educate state officials and legislators regarding the economic value of Michigan ports and use the metrics to advance issues that are beneficial to all ports.
        Ports will also be provided with a user-friendly, excel-based input-output economic modeling template that can be used to update local data regularly, allowing port management to generate individual metrics on an ongoing basis. Participants will also be invited to a presentation highlighting the results of these findings following the completion of this project.
        Bill Boik, consultant, formerly of the Michigan DNR and Dr. Vince Magnini, Ph.D., executive director of the Institute of Service Research, have been hired to assist on this project.
        Execution of the study will begin this fall.
        The MPC is seeking financial participation to help the organization meet the matching funds requirement for this grant.
        MPC is a 501C3 tax exempt not-for-profit registered in the State of Michigan. The MPC has guaranteed the costs associated with the preparation of the grant proposal.    They need to raise an additional $20,000 to meet the matching funding for the project. They are requesting support to help raise the matching funds for this important initiative.
        A commitment for matching funds is necessary to allow the organization to proceed with the project.
        Please contact Donald Gilmet, MPC vice chair and grant coordinator for City of Alpena at (989) 354-1761 or at: donaldg@alpena.mi.us for more information.

Michigan Port Collaborative Awarded Grant To Do “Full Spectrum” Economic Impact Study Of MI Ports

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