Shiawassee Economic Development Partnership Holds Annual Investor Meeting; Awards Owosso Speedway With 2022 Project of the Year

The Shiawassee Economic Development Partnership (SEDP), the non-profit economic development agency serving Shiawassee County, recently held their annual investor meeting (sponsored by Consumers Energy) and highlighted their activities in 2022. Organizational accomplishments included:

  • Completing the first year of five-year strategic plan focused on business, workforce and real estate development
  • Achieving Accredited Economic Development Organization (AEDO) status from the International Economic Development Council, one of only 71 in the world
  • Becoming the first-ever Michigan recipient of a USDA Rural Development Technical Assistance grant

Additional key highlights in each of the business plan categories were:

Business Development:

  • Crest Marine investing $11 million in a new 100,000 sq ft building in Owosso Charter Township
  • PFCU adding a new branch location in downtown Perry
  • Foster Coffee Company expanding into Westown with a planned new roastery and bakery
  • Great Lakes Companies, Shiawassee Health & Wellness, and Lionbear Ventures partnering on a new countywide recycling initiative

Workforce Development

  • Implementing a Tri-Share childcare benefits program (with funding still available to local employers)
  • Securing a $25,000 grant for LIUNA of Michigan to purchase equipment for a CDL training program in Perry Township
  • Supporting the Shiawassee Regional Education Service District vocational training millage request, which was approved by voters in August

Real Estate Development

  • Launching the Shiawassee County Land Bank with focus on spurring new development (including housing) and blight elimination
  • Working with the Detroit Regional Partnership to secure VIP status for industrial parks in Corunna and Owosso Charter Township
  • Securing $680,000 grant from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation for site readiness activities related to the Shiawassee Super Site in Vernon Township/Durand

The meeting also featured the announcement of the organization’s 2022 Project of the Year award, sponsored by Huntington Bank. The honor serves to recognize a new or expanding business in Shiawassee County that creates a significant positive impact on the local economy. This year’s recipient was Owosso Speedway, which began a multi-year, multi-million-dollar improvement plan at the facility.

Pictured from left to right: Destiney Biston, Justin Horvath, Dennis Wheeler, and Jody Hoffmann.

The management team, led by new owners Rex and Sarah Wheeler, oversaw the repaving of the track in 2022, along with clean-up of the grandstands, concession facilities, and restrooms. These activities are only the beginning, as the coming years will see new facilities added to expand capacity to hold 18,000 spectators. In addition to the economic benefits generated by investment, the upgraded facility will become a major draw to bring new visitors to Shiawassee County.

Looking ahead to 2023, key focus areas for SEDP will be:

  • Working with local governments and telecommunications providers to expand broadband access in the county
  • Engaging area stakeholders (public, private, non-profit) with the SEDP grants team from Lionbear Ventures to secure state and federal monies
  • Partnering to host a Small Business Development Center (SBDC) satellite office to support local entrepreneurs

“Economic development is a team sport, and we are very grateful for the support we receive from our investors and other key partners and community stakeholders to achieve this program of work,” said SEDP President/CEO Justin Horvath. “We look forward to a productive 2023 where we will continue our work in business, workforce and real estate development that will ultimately help strengthen Shiawassee County’s economy,” Horvath added.