Providing resources for communities and entrepreneurs to create and retain jobs in Antrim, Charlevoix & Cheboygan Counties.

Community Development 101

Northern Lakes Economic Alliance    231-582-6482

At Northern Lakes Economic Alliance, the approach to community development goes above and beyond the traditional methodology of large infrastructure grants. Though that type of grant‐writing is certainly part of our expertise, we also recognize that developing our communities requires more than an expanded water or sewer system.

A town that thrives has a sense of place. A town with an ability to grow has a development process that is easy to navigate. Regions that attract talent have capacities for child care, housing, and transportation. Working toward the resolution of these issues—and others as they develop—is an integral part of NLEA’s mission of retaining and creating jobs. If you’re looking for details, the following are some specifics.

Grants. A few of the grants that NLEA has applied and obtained for our communities include:

  • Community Development Block Grants (CDBG)
  • Infrastructure Capacity Enhancement (ICE) grants
  • Tribal grants, crowdfunding grants, and local foundation grants

In addition, we are constantly looking for new grant opportunities that line up with the needs in our service area.

Strategic Planning. Who knows best what a community needs? The people who live and work there. However, there are often so many things to do and so many ways to do them that it can be hard to get traction. The NLEA helps communities reach a consensus on their most important issues and provides action steps.

Child care / Housing. These are two of the largest issues facing not only our region, but the state, and much of the country. The NLEA is currently working to create strategies through which businesses and communities could assist with alleviating the most pressing housing and child care needs.

Legislative Issues. In addition to having knowledge of the many public acts that impact our service area, we also track new and pending legislation and pass that information on to our communities.

Are you interested in learning what NLEA can do for your community? Call 231-582-6482 or email

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