This week, InvestUP hosted an introductory roundtable with Sarah Lucas, Office of Rural Development Deputy Director, and Gary McDowell, MDARD Director, to discuss plans for the Michigan Office of Rural Development (ORD). With plans to improve the quality of life in the U.P., the ORD will address some of the region’s key issues, like decreasing population. As the entire U.P. is classified as rural, McDowell believes the ORD will give a voice to those who are often forgotten in state government.
“I think we are facing some real opportunities in terms of being able to bring people back to the U.P. and rural Michigan,” said Lucas. “A lot of that is really dependent on our ability to ensure things like increased rural access to broadband internet, more rural affordable housing options, and making sure overall quality of life is improved.” The ORD is currently working on a master plan with the help of leaders from counties across the U.P., which will help determine what areas of concern to focus on first. Read more here.