The Lake St.Clair Network: Macomb County's Blue Economy Gaining Steam, Hackel Says

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Macomb County's Blue Economy Gaining Steam, Hackel Says -----

Dec 18 2012 05:00 PM | SauKong  in News

County Executive Mark Hackel says marketing Macomb as a key place for business, family and recreation will remain a priority in 2013, but continued consolidation of county resources and a focus on regional cooperation will also take center stage.

"I don't think anyone in this room would doubt my passion for marketing Macomb County," Hackel said during his 2012 State of the County address Wednesday at the Macomb Center for the Performing Arts in Clinton Township. "Macomb County is actively engaged in trying to grow this region and I am proud to be your representative to do that."

Macomb is now more 'efficient, economical and ethical'
Praising the new county charter and its creation of a "government that is more efficient, economical and ethical," Hackel noted specifically the $500,000 savings expected to result annually from the consolidation of the probate and circuit courts and restructuring of the Department of Roads.

"We're putting cash back in the budget and reducing operating costs," he said.

This emphasis on consolidation will continue in 2013 with the creation of an integrated communications center to house the Macomb County Sheriff's Office dispatch (911 calls), the Department of Roads Traffic Operations Center, the Information Technology Data Center and the county's Emergency Management & Communications Department.

Read more: Macomb County Set to Build $11 Million Facility to Merge Public Safety Services

"We're taking these departments out of their independent silos and consolidating their shared resources," Hackel said. "(The center) will transform public safety and be open by this time next year."

The $11 million facility will be built inside the Macomb County Department of Roads building in Mount Clemens.

Regional transit is necessity to compete globally
Speaking on a more regional level, Hackel emphasized the need for "intergovernmental relations" and regional transit.

"We're still missing regional transportation. It's a necessity to be competitive globally and we desperately need a plan. Macomb County is on board (with the Regional Transit Authority) and so are our regional partners and governor."

For Hackel, such transit would only enhance Macomb County's position as a center for business, education and recreation.

Blue Economy is gaining steam
Part business, part recreation, Hackel said the Blue Economy Initiative is key component of the county's economic development plan, adding that in 2013, Lake St. Clair will play host to the Bassmaster 2013 Elite Series Lake St. Clair Championship, Aquapalooza, Sprint and Splash, a river canoe and kayak event on the Clinton River and possibly two winter pond hockey classics.

Last summer, Hackel spoke of his vision for lake recreation and tourism during a a stop in New Baltimore.

Farther inland, Freedom Hill Ampitheatre is also set to reopen, hosting Grammy award-winning band Lady Antebellum as the opening act.

Defense, automotive, health care and education all on the rise
On the industrial side, Hackel added his hope that recent increases in investment in the defense sector will transform Macomb into the "arsenal of innovation" in the near future.

In the past year alone, more than $200 million has been invested in Macomb County's defense sector and some $2 billion in automotive, he said.

Recently launching a new business retention program for the county, Hackel shared his plans to work with businesses of all sizes to help them grow while attracting new industries to the county.

This includes health care, which Hackel said has already grown to 44,000 jobs and expects to add another 4,000 by 2015.

Some of these positions could be filled by what will soon be the first class of graduates from Michigan State University's School of Osteopathic Medicine to have all been trained entirely within Macomb County.

"Education is a significant reason people choose to live here, work here and grow businesses here," Hackel added. "40,000 students in any given semester are pursuing higher education in Macomb County."

"Macomb County is a value-added proposition. We have a solid education and economic foundation I'm proud as heck for Macomb County."

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