March 26 05:19 PM

Outlook is optimistic

Lapeer Development Corp. reports significant increase in area growth

December 30, 2009
LAPEER COUNTY — With the investment of $20.3 million in economic development in the county during the past year, Lapeer Development Corp. Director Patricia Lucas has reason to be optimistic.

Lucas said the numbers represent an increase of $6.5 million over 2008 figures and could reflect renewed confidence in Lapeer County's economic future.

"The end result is that new investment and job creation is taking place in Lapeer County," said Lucas. "There is no better place to enjoy this positive economic impact than in your own community."

Since 1981, the Lapeer Development Corporation has helped 349 businesses with services, including financing, tax incentives, job training and grant money for infrastructure improvements.

Lucas noted that the accumulated assistance has resulted in the creation or retention of nearly 7,000 jobs and a total investment of $520.8 million.

Imlay City is among those Lapeer County communities to experience business investment and receive Community Development Block Grant funding in 2009. photo by Tom Wearing.

She is particularly pleased with the latest numbers, which she hopes may signal a return to economic optimism.

"We're very encouraged," said Lucas. "The economic activity for 2010 appears promising. We've had more companies call for information regarding new employees."

Lucas acknowledged the significant investments made this year by Kamax, Lapeer Industries, Inc. and Masco Bath, as possible harbingers of better things to come.

Kamax invested more than $11 million and created or retained 109 jobs last year. Lapeer Industries invested more than $4 million and created or retained 31 jobs; while Masco Bath invested about $4.6 million and created or retained 154 jobs.

"I think people are becoming more positive," Lucas said. "Things are better. There are hopeful signs. I think it's important to let people know when there is some good news."

In other good news, the Lapeer Development Corporation administered more than $14 million in grants countywide.

They included: 22 Community Development Block Grants, totaling $8.197 million; five Michigan Dept. of Transportation Economic Development Funds totaling a little more than $5 million; a U.S. Dept. of Economic Development Administration grant for $215,000; a Michigan Dept. of Transportation Enhancement Activity Program for $81,057; and 17 Job Training grants totaling $658,638.

For more information about the Lapeer Economic Corporation, contact Patricia Lucas at 810-667-0080, or e-mail to:

The corporation's Web site is:

Tom Wearing started at the Tri-City Times in 1989, covering the Village of Capac as a beat reporter. He later served stints as assistant editor and editor. Today, he covers Imlay City and Almont as a staff writer. He enjoys music and plays drums and sings with various musical groups in the Detroit Metropolitan area.
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