Thursday, September 13, 2012

The Clio Area - An Economically Successful Community 

A. Defining The Clio Area
1. An economic opportunity
2. Government, schools, quality of life
B. Areas of Economic Focus
C. Doing Business in the Area
D. Human Resources and Education  
SECTION 4.   APPENDICES   Committee Reports
Regional Planning Board:   
City of Clio:
Vienna Township:
 Clio Area Chamber of Commerce:
For more information, contact the Regional Planning Board, Clio, Michigan
Nate Jonker, CEO   810.686.4480
192 W. Vienna Road   Clio, MI 48420     Fall, 2012

SECTION 1:      The Vision:   An Economically Successful Community
Background:  The Clio Area Regional Planning Board, consisting of local elected officials, was created in 2001 through Michigan State Law to develop and implement projects across local, state, and national boundary lines.  To that end, the Regional Planning Board is committed to bring local and regional business and government resources together in order to help the community make the transition from a dependent bedroom community to a self-sufficient and economically successful community with a high quality of life.
 The Vision:
By 2020, the Clio Area will be economically independent through partnerships that attract and create business.  Building out from the excellent location at the crossroad of I-75 and M-57, businesses will take advantage of excellent infrastructure in roads, sewer, curb and gutter and even rail service for large industry near Dodge Road and I-75.  New infrastructure on M-54 and Vienna Road will serve as a hot spot for increased sports and recreation attractions. Linden Road will be widened and new local businesses will take advantage of the draw of the national stores.
Businesses will benefit from local, state, national, and even international partnerships created though a Clio Area Business Support office that will organize and promote new products in local industrial parks, high levels of productivity through well-trained employees, and an expanded customer base through technology and communication devices.
Local banks and a local investment fund will help to finance new clusters of start-up companies creating new products in technology, energy, and medicine.   Health facilities will appeal to local and state-wide residents, especially for older citizens and for victims of cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.
Using area-wide Wi-Fi, local businesses will be able to communicate easily with a local customer base and eventually nearly 3 million people within 60 miles of Clio.  Government services and requirements will be on-line and streamlined across boundary lines.  Taxes, incentives, and other governmental services will be supportive of both business and the community.
By 2020, the K-12 school system will function as a PK-16 district, assuring businesses of a large cadre of college graduates who enjoyed a world class education since the age of 3 years old.  To make the transition from current educational levels to 60% college graduates, an adult education training facility will assist employees prepare for new work in the new economy.
The community will continue to enhance the quality of life in the area, building on the current entertainment and art infrastructure and on the excellent sports complex and recreation facilities at schools and local churches.

SECTION 2:                  The Process:   The Charge, Committees and the Authors
The Charge: In May, 2012, The Regional Planning Board challenged the residents of the Clio Area to envision, create, and execute a strategic plan that by the year 2020 will contribute to a strong economic base and a resulting high quality of life.   Residents convened several committees to study trends, identifying current strengths, and creating new infrastructure, policies and procedures that will allow us to compete in the global environment of 2020.
The various committees met throughout May, June, and July of 2012.  A common reporting format was adopted at a “chairperson meeting” at the end of June.  The draft plan was submitted for review and comment to various reviewers in August and September. The final plan is to be submitted to the general public during the fall of 2012 with a printed plan adopted by the end of the year.
The Committees:  Eight committees were established to answer questions commonly asked by business leaders and economic development experts.  The committees defined the local market, identified potential areas for economic activity and the zoning and land available.  The committees identified human resources available and set goals for the educational systems to meet the new demands of business.  The committees researched finance opportunities for start ups and expansions, and finally the committees listed current assets in government and quality of life including assets of family, faith, and the arts and culture.
The  Authors:
Jan Barlow, Neil Bedell, Jim Block, Bernie Borden, Lindsay Carpenter, Martin Cousineau, Shelly Cranick, Vernon Curtis,  Wallace Dawson, David DeMarr, Dennis Dinsmore, Gary Domerese,  Brad Eaton, Larry Eaton, Pam Faris, Sandra Fierros,  Roger Gedcke, Eric Gunnels, Charles Hilliker, Patrick Hubbard, Kent Kern, Don Lee,  Rhonda Little, Michael Lockwood, Ned Lockwood, Karen Mason, Rick Mason, Kyle McCree, Annette Miller, Carolyn Miller, Mike Muehleisen, Tim Neelands,  Robert Palmer, Del Shores, Jennifer Singleton, Bob & Sue Smith, Karen Strader,  Karen Stratman,  James Tenbusch, Jackie Tinnin, Mary Todd, Doug Vance, John Waldo, Jan Warner, Barb Waybrant, Eric Wiederhold, D.J. Williams,  Alan Yenglin

SECTION 3:    A.   Defining the Clio Area: An Economic Development Opportunity
The community of Clio consists of the City of Clio, Thetford Township and Vienna Township with 22,329 citizens located mostly within the 48420 zip code and within the boundaries of the Clio Area School District and the Mott Community College Northern Tier campus.  It is estimated that the total worth of the 48420 community is around three billion dollars. Current FDIC protected deposits of all types in Clio Area banks equals $145,000,000.  The median household income in Vienna Township at Exit #131 off I-75 is $52,957 compared to the Michigan median income of $48,432. The median age is 37.2 years and over 80% have a high school diploma, some college or skill trade or a college degree.
Exit #131, the Clio/Vienna Road exit is at the economic center of the Clio Area and the northern tier of Genesee County, Michigan.  This modern, well-lit, and nicely landscaped exit is located just north of Flint and I-69, and is a gateway to the beautiful northern Michigan.  Serving over 12,000 vehicles per day on Vienna Road, the exit is a halfway point between Auburn Hills of Oakland County and the recreational area of West Branch, Michigan - between 50-60 miles each way. 
The Clio exit is within 60 miles of nearly 3 million people, an above average household income, and within 30 miles of 10 colleges providing an international level of technical and managerial talent to over 56,000 students.

Saginaw County 20 miles 199,088 $ 42,954
Birch Run City 6.5 miles 10,108 $ 43,134
Frankenmuth City 13.1 miles 6,916 $ 59,171
Saginaw City 22.5 miles 51,508 $ 27,051
Bay City 35 miles 34,932 $ 35,561
Midland County 48.1 miles 84,063 $ 51.103
Genesee County 10 miles 422,100 $ 43,483
Flint City 16 miles   102,434 $ 27,199
Grand Blanc 23.6 miles 47,052 $ 53,484
Oakland County 40 miles 1,210,000 $ 66,390
Auburn Hills 51 miles 21,412 $ 49,558
Washtenaw County 60 miles 347,982 $ 59,065
Ann Arbor 65.2 miles 113,934 $ 52,625
Chesaning 18.2 miles 7,352 $ 49,145
Owosso 34.2 miles 15,194 $ 35,850
Lansing 57.9 miles 114,297 $ 37,666
Lapeer County 32 miles 88,319 $ 56,116
Lapeer City 36.8 miles 8,841 $ 33,316

CLIO:  A full-service city, Clio provides public safety (police, fire, and EMS), public works (water, sewer, road repairs, and snow and ice control), park and recreation facilities (pavilions, park land, and 5+ miles of bike paths. Unique to a community of its size, is Clio's art center, amphitheater, and industrial park--each developed through a community partnership anchored by city government participation.
THETFORD TOWNSHIP:  Just East of the City of Clio is 34.8 square miles of Thetford Township, a rural area with 7,049 residents dedicated to farm land, green spaces, and the solitude of the country.  Thetford also hosts Ligon Educational Center, a premier outdoor education center serving the entire County.  A major Genesee County Park, Buell Lake is also located in Thetford Township.  Thetford is proud to be a part of the Clio Area Fire Authority and houses a small Senior Center across from the Township Hall on the corner of Vienna Road and Center Road.  At the corner of Vienna and Belsay is the former post office called Henpeck.
VIENNA TOWNSHIP:  Located in mid-Michigan, off I-75 about half way between Flint and Saginaw, Vienna Township (population 13,255)  offers the finest in country lifestyle living. From safe, quiet housing to shopping to schools to entertainment, Vienna Township has it all.  The junction of I-75 and the state highway, M-57, is a major economic development opportunity for the entire area.  A Business Development Authority plans and implements programs for the business area. Videos are available on-line at
SCHOOLS:    The Clio Area School District comprises 54 Square miles in northern Genesee County.  The district has one high school, a middle school, three elementary schools and an Adult and Community Education program.  The Clio Area School has achieved K-12 accreditation by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.  There is an enrollment of 3,667 students in K-12, including 366 alternative education Students.  They have 198 instructional staff, 151 support staff, and 15 administrators.  The schools consistently perform in the top two or three districts in the County; and have aspirations to become the very best performing district in Genesee County.
The Clio Area School District is proud of the community involvement in the schools.  The schools offer various opportunities for parents, organizations, and community members to use the school facilities after hours and to participate in community forums and discussions about the schools and the quality of life in the community. 
The schools have been used for town-hall meetings to plan for the community’s future.  Many non-profit organizations such as the Clio Rotary use the school facilities.  The Healthy Community Initiative organizes a major community Fitness Expo at Clio High School every year. It is common to see every gym busy after school and in the evenings.  A community health group walks the halls of the middle school every night, and many citizens use the pool for therapy, weight control, and physical fitness.
The Clio School District offers a unique opportunity for all the governments and local non-profits organizations to meet on a monthly basis.  Known as “Common Ground,” this collection of local residents and volunteers share schedules, events, and ideas on the last Thursday of every month in the School Administration Building on Mill Street.
The School District is featured in the community wide website, which serves a unique media site to learn “everything” you wanted to know about the Clio Area.
The Mott Community College – Northern Tier campus on Vienna Road is a result of community input during the Town Hall Meetings of 2000-2001.  It has been a priority of the Regional Planning Board since then, and has developed from one classroom in the Art Center to a 25,000 sq. ft. center that now has over 1000 students and growing at about 5% a year. 
QUALITY OF LIFE: Most residents think that the Clio Area has a positive quality of life.  In a survey of over 200 randomly selected residents in the year 2000, quality of life was overwhelming viewed as a major attribute of the community.  The non-profit community is proud of its monthly meeting of “common ground” – an opportunity for all governments and non-profits to share schedule and events for the future.  The calendar and other community events are posted on the community website,  . 
Philanthropy is evident in the community through the Clio Area Community Foundation which host several funds for the community.  The community also supports the Clio Educational fund for local scholarships and rewards for teachers.  The local Veterans Society has raised enough money to support a Veterans Park in downtown Clio.  The local Historical Society raises enough money to keep open the Depot Historical Museum on the railroad track that once saw Teddy Roosevelt stop to campaign for President.
For the size of the community, the Arts have a significant presence through the Clio Amphitheater, the Clio Art Society with its own Art Gallery, and the Clio Cast and Crew a local theater troop with its own theater on Vienna Road.  There is an annual Arts Festival in the summer; and a Clio Summer Fest in the downtown.
Access to recreation is available in the area with every school building utilized during non-school hours for basketball games, and a Youth Sports Complex that attracts 6000 adults and children over the summer.
There are nearly 30 churches in the area, and spiritually life is important and recognized as part of the quality of life in the area.  The schools are proud of their “Character Counts” campaign to build children of character in the community.  Church and community leaders have established a Human Services Fund to meet emergency needs of families who are struggling with food, rent, or utilities payments.
All of these pieces of the Quality of Life pie are captured through the Healthy Community Initiative, now in its fifth year of leading change in personal health, the economy, intra-governmental planning, the arts, neighborhoods, and other areas of the community.  Most recently, the Healthy Community Initiative helped to provide a local access point for health care for all residents regardless of level of insurance.  The Clio Area Health Clinic was created by Hamilton Health Network, a federally qualified health clinic, in October of 2011 and continues to treat all patients on Vienna Road in Clio.

SECTION 3:          B.  Areas of Economic Focus
The residents have identified a variety of areas for expansion of light commercial and heavy commercial development; with major focus on: 1) I-75 and the immediate area, 2)  M-57 (Vienna Road), 3) M-54 (Saginaw Road), and 4) Linden Road in Vienna Township.
 The Clio area has been focused around its infrastructure for its entire history. In the 1820’s, the community of Pine Run was founded on Dixie Highway, which later became known as M-54. Located on the intersection of M-54 and M-57, Pine Run was strategically located at the transportation crossroads of the day. In 1862, the Pierre Marquette Railroad ran tracks through the small community of Varna which was located about one mile west of Pine Run. This community thrived as a station on this important north and south railway between the cities of Flint and Saginaw. In 1873, Varna changed their name to Clio. The Clio area continued to thrive throughout the years until the mid-1950’s when Interstate 75 was built two miles to the west of Clio. This interstate included an exit on M-57, and allowed Clio to take advantage of its strategic location along major transportation routes. 
The goal for the future is to create strategic, purposeful and segmented business ‘neighborhoods’ in key locations in the Clio area. It is agreed that focusing resources and planning development in these areas will enhance the economic development efforts of the community.
1. The community will seek state recognition of M-57 as a State Recreational Heritage Route to take advantage of state and federal partnerships for existing and new business on M-57.
2. The community will continue to add sidewalks, lighting, curbs and gutters to M-57, M-54 and to Linden Road.
3. The community will seek to place the widening of Linden Road on the list of County and State economic development projects.
4. The community will promote a large industrial site near I-75 and Dodge Road close to all necessary infrastructures.
5. The community will assist in the creation of light industrial parks such as a) Medical parks, b) Technology parks, and c) Energy research and manufacturing parks.
6. The community will work with Kettering University and other Universities to create a Smart Zone for clusters of technology businesses.
7. The community will seek state and federal partners to assist new business or business parks in downtown Clio.
8. The community will seek partners in Flint, Saginaw, and throughout Michigan with appropriate economic development agencies.
9. The community will promote its current assets (Amphitheater, Bike Path and Sports Complex for example) as economic opportunities for existing and new businesses.
10. The community will establish high standards for all new commercial projects.

Section 3.     C.   Doing Business in the Area
A recent survey of local business owners has identified a variety of recommendations to make the area attractive for doing business.  The government should make rules and regulations consistent and coordinated across boundary lines and easy to implement.  Unification and consolidation are suggested where ever possible.  Government agencies should reach out to business with a friendly face and be flexible to a variety of businesses.  Better marketing and promotion of the area is suggested.
These and other recommendations will be met in the following ten goals: 
1. Cooperation: The local Business Development Districts will work together to promote and attract new business.
2. High Priority: The community will establish business development as a major priority of the Clio Area Regional Planning Board working across district boundary lines to meet the needs of business.
3. One-stop-shop: The community will designate an area wide economic development person and office to promote the community and assist commercial success.
4.  Business Services: The community will offer services to expanding and new businesses though new state and national partners.  Education and training for employees will be offered.
5. Technology: The community will partner with business to provide area wide Wi-Fi for use by local residents and businesses.
6. Rules and Permits: The community will continue to work with area governmental units to assure business of friendly and easy access to governmental requirements utilizing on-line access wherever possible.
7. Governments: The community will continue to examine opportunities for governmental cooperation and cost-sharing mechanisms to keep the cost of doing business competitive..
8. Infrastructure: The community will continue to expand infrastructure (roads, sewer, water, etc) to area businesses as necessary.  Industrial parks, medical parks, technology parks will be explored.
9. Finances: The community will organize local banks to work closely with existing and new businesses.
10. Start-ups: The community will establish a local investment fund for start-ups and expanding businesses.

Section 3. D.   Human Resources and Education
The Clio Area residents are being well prepared to meet the human resource needs of businesses now and through 2020.    From pre-school through graduate programs, the area is developing the human resources necessary to meet the demands of the new economy.
By 2020, the community will have implemented:
1. An “Information-Age Delivery System” in the Clio Area School System that includes high levels of technology providing every student a mobile computing device in a wi-fi environment.  Students will receive customized content designed to meet individual needs while insisting on excellent skills in acquiring, analyzing, and accessing knowledge.
2. A Pk-14 instructional program.  Research is clear that students need pre-kindergarten services beginning at age three; and that most jobs require more than a high school education.  The Clio Rotary Club will teach area adults to teach early literacy skills among local children; and a new partnership between the Clio Area School District and Mott Community College will deliver free counseling and college tuition for junior and senior high school students enrolled in the Clio-MCC Career and Scholars Program.  One year skill and certificate programs will allow students to become qualified for high skilled jobs immediately following graduation.
3. A new commitment to Reading and Math by organizing resources and programs to assure proficiency by 3rd grade; thereby escalating the Clio Area School District to the top performing district in the county.
4. A commitment to adult education and retraining.  Over 60% of the community has some college and are ready for college degree completion programs.  By increasing the percentage of adults with at least a two year degree or skill, the community can reach the goal of a college degree for 60% of the residents of the area. A Clio Area Adult Training Initiative funding with private and public dollars will work with business leaders to assure opportunities for job shadowing, apprenticeships, and permanent employment.
5. A new relationship with area colleges and universities.  The ten local colleges within 30 miles of the Clio community will provide residents a new opportunity to graduate in technology, engineering, energy, and various medical fields.
6. Kettering University will assist business expand technical resources by tapping over 1000 students in engineering, over 200 in computer science, and nearly three hundred students in graduate programs in manufacturing, engineering, and business management.
7. The University of Michigan – Flint can assist develop medical parks with over 400 students now enrolled in graduate degrees in medical fields and over 800 students in under-graduate programs. Three hundred students are ready to serve in computer science and information systems and nearly 100 in graduate programs in technology.
8. Mott Community College has a satellite campus on Vienna Road in Clio with over 1000 students.  With a total of 17,000 students, MCC hosts a regional Technology Center only 15 miles from the Clio/I-75 exit working with business to prepare students in automotive technology, computer related technologies, medical preparation, medical management, and other areas.