Baroda Mi Sparks Development


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Baroda MI Reinventining Downtown Economy

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Baroda Mi Sparks Development

  1. 1. Downtown Idea Exchange Essential Information for Downtown RevitalizationBusiness Recruitment & RetentionRevolving loan fund and tax abatement spark development Re-envisioning the local economy and provid- “We also set up a Revolving Loan Funding financial assistance are helping the village of (RLF),” says Diane Mensinger, village clerk.Baroda, MI (est. pop. 873), reinvent itself. Baroda Funds to create the RLF were obtained via theused to be the tool and die cast capital of the state, USDA’s Rural Business Enterprise Grant pro-with eight mills employing more than 220 people. gram. To date the village has provided RLF loansIn recent years, those factories have dwindled totaling $50,000 to one business for facadedown to four, providing only 61 jobs. In addition improvements, and another forto multiple vacant industrial buildings downtown, building renovations. We have $20,000Baroda also has a unique dead-end main street to A second round of the RLF reasons to expand orcontend with. prompted village officials to run When citizens were trying to decide how to locate your business a newspaper ad stating, “Webreathe new life into their village, they looked no have $20,000 reasons for you to downtown.further than the area’s orchards, u-pick produce expand or locate your businessstands, family-run farms, nine wineries, and the in downtown Baroda!” Bob Getz, village presi-locally-grown produce served in downtown eater- dent, says that if a qualifying business that bringsies. The village, which is located six miles from jobs and revenue to the community is interested, itLake Michigan and within a six-hour drive of will get a $20,000 RLF loan.about 60 million people, is focusing on agri- “Our village and our consultant, Chuck Eck-tourism and reinventing the region as “the Heart enstahler, also worked very hard with the legisla-of Wine Country.” ture to try to get the commercial tax abatement opened up,” says Mensinger. “We were one of thePreparing the way for new businesses first places in the state to get that, and now other In order to attract new businesses that will, in cities are calling us asking how we did it.”turn, attract tourists, the village took a number of Two tax abatement districts were created,steps. The village council obtained MDOT funds one downtown and one for the Lemon Creekfor three road improvement projects. The first, a entryway to the community, with up to a 100-streetscape project, includes new paving, side- percent abatement of local taxes available on thewalks, street lighting, banners, and flowers. The increased assessed value due to building renova-ond two involve creating gateways from I-94 and tions for qualified businesses. Five-year commer-US Route 31 into the community. cial renovation tax abatements have assisted the Reprinted from the July 2012 issue of Downtown Idea Exchange © 2012 Alexander Communications Group, Inc. All rights reserved. DO NOT EDIT OR ALTER REPRINTS • REPRODUCTION NOT PERMITTED
  2. 2. Baroda Tap & Grille and the Tabula Rasa Gallery has upgraded his licensing so that he can producein improving their buildings without paying taxes farmstead cheeses to go with locally-producedon the upgrades. wines. One winery tour includes a stroll past “Before, only existing businesses or buildings beautiful handcrafted barrels carved by a localqualified for the tax abatement,” says Getz. “We woodsman. Even though Tabula Rasa is an artintroduced legislation to expand that to be used gallery, the business features a deli case filledany place where there was a commercial building with locally-produced foods. The Baroda Tap &before, but there isn’t one now.” Village officials Grille serves locally grown and produced foods,are hoping that the tax abatement incentive will as well.entice a bed and breakfast interested in catering The village has successfully applied for Artsto wine country visitors to develop a lot formerly Build Communities grant funds for downtownoccupied by an elementary school downtown. murals depicting wine, produce, and Pomona, the “We have a whole block which is in our Roman goddess of agriculture, on the exterior ofCommercial Renovation Tax Abatement District the feed it can be rezoned for commercial use,” says And the Round Barn Winery is moving itsGetz. “If someone builds a new facility there, we brewery into an empty 10,000-square-foot tool andcan give them a 100-percent, five-year tax abate- die cast building downtown. An Industrial Facili-ment so all they need to pay is whatever the taxes ties Tax Exemption will allow the business toare now for the empty lot.” upgrade equipment, open a tasting room, and pos- sibly add a restaurant next year, all without payingStrengthening the agri-tourism connection taxes on new equipment. Village officials and individual business own- Contact: Bob Getz, Village of Baroda, (269) 930-7008;ers have taken steps to hone their identity as an Diane Mensinger, Village of Baroda, (269) 422-1779,agri-tourism destination. One local dairy farmer DIX