Traverse City Record-Eagle

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February 15, 2013

Leelanau seeks help on job-growth strategy

SUTTONS BAY — Leelanau County is turning to the Traverse Bay Economic Development Corporation for help in developing a long-term strategy for job growth.

The county's Board of Commissioners voted 5 to 2 this week to ask the Traverse Bay EDC for a detailed proposal on how the county should pursue economic development.

The EDC will make a formal presentation to the county board on the matter March 12.

"The great thing is Leelanau County is not in a turn-around situation when it comes to economic growth," said Doug Luciani, president of the Traverse City Area Chamber of Commerce. "There are a lot of strong pockets of growth in Leelanau County already."

Luciani said he believes more year-round jobs can be developed in the county in the agricultural sector and by beefing up broadband Internet services in the county.

"Value-added agricultural food processing can be a sweet spot," Luciani said. "There is so much agricultural production in the county, and they don't process a lot of (products) right there, and they could."

Commissioners have not decided yet on whether to eliminate the county's economic development board, which county Administrator Chet Janik recently described as stagnant and lacking defined goals.

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