Traverse City Record-Eagle

Archive: Wednesday

July 10, 2013

Kingsley moves forward with economic development strategy

KINGSLEY — New data received by the village of Kingsley reinforces community leaders’ strong belief that the bedroom community is ripe for economic growth.

The data, culled by the Traverse City Area Economic Development Corporation, shows Kingsley has stronger purchasing power compared to other northern Michigan communities. Kingsley also has a stronger family base than other regional population centers, and has cheaper real estate prices than other local communities.

Village Manager Mitch Foster is encouraged by the information, and said the village will emphasize an economic development strategy that boosts its village corridor.

“We are focusing on business development and looking to go a little bit deeper with our Downtown Development Authority here,” Foster said. “The discussion now is, how can we do this? How can it be done and how was it done elsewhere?”

The Traverse City Area EDC gathered the information about Kingsley’s economic demographics as part of a partnership with the village to create an economic development plan. Perhaps the most striking figure in the data is Kingsley’s significantly cheaper housing prices compared to Traverse City’s. The average list price for a home in Kingsley in 2013 was $128,900, nearly 37 percent lower than Traverse City’s average list price of $204,900.

The statistics also showed: Kingsley has the second-youngest average age in Grand Traverse County, at 33; a stronger relative purchasing power than several other northern Michigan communities; and that the community has a strong family base. Kingsley, for example, has the highest percentage of families in the region with children 18 and younger living at home, which translates into economic power and business growth opportunities.

The next two phases of the partnership with the EDC will examine what can be done to attract businesses like upscale restaurants and the arts to the village corridor, and how to better capitalize on the annual Adams Fly Festival. Foster expects to discuss the matter further at a village council meeting in August.

Village President Rodney Bogart also wants to discuss what the village needs to do to offer more community gathering places and how to lure new business to the community’s industrial park.

“There is a lot of interest in the community about seeing something happen, and there’s a lot of drive to get the township and village to offer incentives to people who want to (bring in new business,)” Bogart said.

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