Gov. Rick Snyder: Michigan's economic resurgence continues when communities collaborate, rise together

Grayling is third graduate from Rising Tide program, passes torch to West Branch


GRAYLING, Mich. – The Grayling community has grown stronger through Project Rising Tide, and now its leaders are ready to pass the torch and help West Branch, the first community selected for the program’s second phase.

Gov. Rick Snyder created Rising Tide to help communities by offering technical assistance while promoting collaboration among local leaders. Grayling, saluted today as the third community to graduate, now steps into a mentorship role and will begin working with West Branch leaders.

“An important part of Rising Tide is helping communities come together, set priorities and work to solve their problems,” Snyder said. “I applaud the leadership and partnership that led to the positive transformation in Grayling. This is a community that will continue to grow and thrive, and I am excited to watch them share what they’ve learned.”

Rising Tide is guided by the Department of Talent and Economic Development, tapping expertise from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, the Michigan State Housing Development Authority and the Talent Investment Agency.

One community from each of the state’s 10 prosperity zones were selected in September 2015 to participate in the inaugural class of the program. Technical assistance ranges from helping communities obtain grants to improve parks to assisting residents in gaining employability skills to guiding leaders through better budgeting and zoning processes.

Through Rising Tide, Grayling leaders received technical assistance in creating a comprehensive economic development strategy, a robust communications plan, a new regional brand and a downtown revitalization effort. Together, the programs are intended to boost development, create jobs and improve the quality of life.

“The people of Grayling embraced Rising Tide, and have been an enthusiastic partner,” said Roger Curtis, director of the Department of Talent and Economic Development. “With this program, they have gained the tools and resources needed to continue their success and share their knowledge with other communities.”

Seventeen new businesses have located to Grayling since 2015, including five new restaurants and breweries. Arauco, an international company, is building North America’s largest particle board manufacturing plant in Grayling Township, expecting to create more than 200 jobs.

“The Rising Tide program has been a transformational program for our community,” Mayor Karl Schreiner said. “The program has provided us with the basic framework and momentum to build on, and collaborative efforts are at an all-time high in our community. Everyone is finally at the table – together.”

Grayling joins Charlotte and River Rouge as graduates. After passing the torch to West Branch, Grayling will enter into the mentorship phase of the program, providing support to their partners. West Branch leaders said they are excited about the opportunity to be the first community selected for the second round of Rising Tide.

“We’re ready to roll up our sleeves and get to work,” West Branch Mayor Denise Lawrence said. “We know there is great work to be done, but we’re looking toward the future, and building a stronger foundation for economic success is critical to a healthy and vibrant community. This program will help us build that foundation, and having the guidance of Grayling will ensure we stay the course.”