Planning & Performance Improvement

Economic Development

The Economic Development Division, which was formally created in 2010, is responsible for increasing economic development in Ottawa County. The primary goals of this division include:

  • Increasing investment in local businesses
  • Increasing the number of new businesses relocating to Ottawa County
  • Promoting collaboration among the County's economic development agencies in order to maximize existing resources, obtain additional resources, and minimize duplication of resources
  • Fostering the development and expansion of businesses that produce services and products associated with the agribusiness sector of Ottawa County
  • Utilizing the County's Brownfield Redevelopment Authority to attract and retain businesses
The Economic Development Projects are categorized into Current Projects and Completed Projects.

Current Economic Development Projects

ACRE AgTech
Ottawa County Brownfield Redevelopment
Standardized Mapping

Completed Economic Development Projects

Land Bank Authority
Metropolitan Statistical Areas
Recovery Zone Economic Development Bonds
Recovery Zone Facility Bonds
Renaissance Zones

Current Economic Development Projects

ACRE AgTech

In 2011, the Ottawa County Planning and Performance Improvement Department received a grant from the USDA to complete a Market Needs and Feasibility Study for an Ag-Technology Business Incubator. The Study verified there were a significant number of entrepreneurs in the region with agricultural ideas who needed assistance to develop their ideas into businesses.

Based on the Study results, the Planning and Performance Improvement Department developed a unique, low-risk model to implement the Great Lakes Ag-Technology Business Incubator, recently renamed ACRE AgTech. Unlike typical incubators, ACRE AgTech does not provide physical building space for its clients. This “Garage Incubator” model dedicates almost all of its resources solely to staff who help commercialize the client’s technology. When facilities are needed for clients, ACRE AgTech will broker space (office, loading dock, warehouse) on a piecemeal basis from existing landlords in the community.

ACRE AgTech, a non-profit corporation, specializes in helping farmers and entrepreneurs turn their ag-tech machine, equipment, or software ideas and inventions into successful businesses. ACRE AgTech provides specialized assistance designed to propel start-up companies through business hurdles. These services include, but are not limited to, validating concepts, obtaining patents, developing markets, streamlining regulatory permits, developing financial plans, assembling management teams, obtaining business financing, and developing supplier sustainability plans. In addition, farmers associated with the Incubator share their expertise with entrepreneurs to validate their ag-tech ideas, provide recommendations to improve new products, and field test prototypes.

ACRE AgTech has also created a Member County Partnership Program that allows other counties to benefit from its pool of technical experts, sponsor donations, and business consultants at cost-effective rates. Ottawa County is the first County to sign-on as a Member County.

Learn more about ACRE AgTech »

Ottawa County Brownfield Redevelopment

Formally established in 2008, the Ottawa County Brownfield Redevelopment Authority (OCBRA) facilitates the rehabilitation, revitalization, and reuse of environmentally contaminated, blighted, or functionally obsolete properties identified as "brownfields." The OCBRA can offer several financial tools to help developers offset costs incurred for environmental assessment, demolition, lead or asbestos abatement, and other activities performed as part of an approved brownfield plan.

Click the HERE to visit the County’s brownfield redevelopment web page

Standardized Mapping

The Ottawa County Planning and Performance Improvement Department continues to work with local units of government throughout the County to encourage and facilitate the adoption of Standard Land Use District Titles and Colors for master plan and zoning maps.

Standardization will allow for easy viewing of commercial, retail, and industrial properties across the County on a single map, reducing the time and effort staff and consultants spend analyzing local zoning ordinances and master plans. It will also give citizens a better understanding of the location and type of land use districts in their community and in surrounding communities. Standardization does not change density, use, or any other local zoning ordinance and comprehensive land use plan requirements that have been adopted by local units of government.

Completed Economic Development Projects

Land Bank Authority

Ottawa County established a Land Bank Authority (LBA) in order to strengthen and revitalize the local economy through assembling and/or disposing of public property, including tax reverted property. The LBA, which is administered by the Ottawa County Treasurer's Office, could potentially be used by the Planning and Performance Improvement Department, in conjunction with local units of government, to promote economic growth.

Metropolitan Statistical Areas

In 2009, the Planning and Performance Improvement Department pursued a dialog with the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to modify its standards for defining metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs). At that time, the OMB's standards divided the region into three smaller MSAs - each of which fall below the minimum population thresholds that many large relocating businesses consider favorable to a region. Ottawa County became its own single county MSA (Holland-Grand Haven) after the 2000 Census because it was 317 individuals short from reaching the OMB's 25% commuter-threshold in order to be included with the larger Grand Rapids MSA. The OMB's standards created a serious misconception regarding the economic size of this region.

In May 2009, the County Planning Commission approved a Resolution which supported having Ottawa County join the Kent County (i.e. Grand Rapids) region in order to achieve an MSA that has a population of more than 1,000,000. This Resolution was forwarded to the OMB.

In March 2013, the OMB designated Ottawa County as part of a four-county MSA (Grand Rapids-Wyoming) that also includes Kent, Barry, and Montcalm Counties. The Grand Rapids-Wyoming MSA has a population of more than 1,000,000.

Recovery Zone Economic Development Bonds

Ottawa was the first county in Michigan to allocate a Recovery Zone Bond allotment. A Recovery Zone Economic Development Bond (RZEDB) award of $5.6 million was allocated to the City of Grand Haven in August 2009 for their Washington Avenue Improvement Project.

The Planning and Performance Improvement Department recommended a second RZEDB allocation of $6.4 million to the City of Coopersville for upgrades to their wastewater treatment system, as well as for public infrastructure improvements to accommodate growth in the community. These bonds were allocated in April 2010.

Recovery Zone Facility Bonds

In February 2010, Ottawa County allocated their entire $31.1 million allotment in Federal Recovery Zone Facility Bonds (RZFB) to the Michigan Strategic Fund for the Continental Dairy Products project. The project includes construction, renovation, and equipment purchases to convert the vacant Delphi facility that is located in the City of Coopersville into a milk processing plant. The plant will be capable of processing four million pounds of milk daily into longer shelf life products such as butter, cream, condensed milk and milk powder. The project will create 70 permanent, full-time jobs over the next two years at a total cost of $90.5 million.

Renaissance Zones

In 2010, the Planning and Performance Improvement Department worked in conjunction with Request Foods and Holland Charter Township to successfully process an Agricultural Processing Renaissance Zone designation to accommodate a proposed plant expansion. This designation, which the Board of Commissioners approved, will result in a $40.6 million investment in the new facility and the creation of 250 new jobs.

CONTACT US

  • Paul Sachs, Director
  • 12220 Fillmore St
    Room 260
    West Olive, MI 49460
  • Phone: (616) 738-4852
    FAX: (616) 738-4625
  • Monday - Friday:
    8:00am - 5:00pm

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