Working Together to Create More Housing Options in Marquette County

Ensuring a vibrant local and regional economy involves many moving pieces, from a clear flow of capital to ensuring sufficient housing and amenities to create a high quality of life that retains and attracts residents to the area. Housing is a complex piece of that equation with many moving pieces.

Since 2022, the Intergovernmental Housing Taskforce has been meeting to coordinate discussions between local governments on ways the public sector can play a role in addressing the housing shortage. A key outcome of that work is just about ready: a detailed, up-to-date Target Market Analysis (TMA). A TMA provides vital insight into the actual state of a housing market and – most notably – its potential for absorbing new and rehabilitated units. The initial overall findings suggest we can safely absorb up to 1,400 new units annually countywide between owners and renters who are actively looking to be in the area. That number increases to 1,940 when you factor in rehabilitated units to help retain existing residents. The TMA includes demographics, housing types, rent and sale price tolerance, and various other factors to enhance precision in targeting outcomes. It further delves into specific geographic subareas for a more detailed analysis.

We will provide opportunities to dive deep into the data in the coming months, but an initial look at the overall findings will come at the LSCP’s first Breakfast and Business event on January 26 from 7:30 – 9:00 a.m. at the Ramada Marquette. This new quarterly event series will focus on bringing together business and community leaders to receive economic development updates, learn about critical issues, and build networks to tackle our challenges together. Tickets are only $25 for LSCP members and $35 for non-members and include a full hot breakfast. You can learn more and register at www.marquette.org/breakfast.

In addition to the TMA, the LSCP is excited to see the Marquette County Land Bank Authority’s (MCLBA) Housing Specialist, Antonio Adan, officially begin his role. This position is a partnership between the MCLBA, LSCP, InvestUP, and the Community Foundation of Marquette County. In its first weeks, it’s already paying dividends as Antonio hits the ground running, turning several initiatives that have been on our radar into actual action. Many of these actions are part of the LSCP’s newly adopted Strategic Framework for Housing which will be discussed at the breakfast event.

With the Regional Housing Action Plan now in place – a shout out to our friends at the Central Upper Peninsula Planning and Development Commission (CUPPAD) and Community Action Alger Marquette (CAAM) for their work coordinating that initiative – and more resources locally, expect more updates on this issue throughout the year. From new financing tools (both public and private), updated technical assistance support from the state, the increased willingness of local governments to take a hard look at local zoning and permitting process, and interest from developers working on all types of housing, the pieces are coming together. However, it will take all of us working together to find the right combinations that allow for new units to come online.

The LSCP exists to ensure a vibrant local and regional economy, and housing is just one of several issues we work on. The team also provides a robust set of programming and resources to support business startup, retention, and growth. All this is only possible thanks to the 300+ members who invest in our work annually. If you’re already a member, please let us know how we can help. If you’re not, still reach out. We’d love to meet you and see how we can work together.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Christopher Germain is the Lake Superior Community Partnership’s CEO.


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