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  • Writer's pictureKurt J. Kolka

Rising Tide lifts Grayling, may wash in Community Center

(Photo of site for new public canoe launch for residents)

By Kurt J. Kolka / Feb. 22, 2018

GRAYLING – You may have heard, last week, Grayling had a visit by Governor Rick Synder who graduated the city from his Rising Tide program.

What is Rising Tide? Well, according to their website,, the goal of the initiative is to “to provide at-risk communities with the tools they need to design and build a successful economic framework. It supports vibrant, thriving communities to attract business investment and talent by creating a sustainable path toward economic stability and growth.”

Grayling had been suffering with a poor economy for years, with many empty storefronts along the downtown area and a lack of job opportunities in general. Then, in 2015 it was selected to become one of ten initial communities to participate in the Rising Tide program.

Since the project began, the city has added 17 new businesses and five new breweries and restaurants.

“Rising Tide basically gave us a pathway for achieving our goals,” says Grayling Regional Chamber of Commerce Executive Director, Traci Cook

“There were a number of programs we went through because of Rising Tide,” says Cook. “We had a market analysis done, an economic development strategy and a downtown revitalization.

“We are part of the Main Street Community, a Redevelopment Ready Community, Grayling Main Street and Rising Tide. All of these things together have helped us along the way.”

According to the State of Michigan, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, Talent Investment Agency, and Michigan State Housing Development Authority to make the Rising Tide program possible. Collectively, they are known as the Talent and Economic Development (TED) team.

“This has really been a stepping stone for us,” Cook adds. “And now, after graduating the program, we are going to be a mentor to West Branch and help them along.”

Development for the city of Grayling is far from over however. Cook says the community received a grant from Rising Tide to put in a new public canoe launch. The launch will be built behind the Michigan State Police crime lab and across the river from Ray's. This is expected to be completed by summer.

“Lot of people have asked for this,” says Cook.

Another project of interest for the people of Grayling is a possible community center. A local committee is now working on this and a feasibility study is being done.

“We met with the group that is actually putting a survey together [for people's thoughts on the center],” explains Cook. “We told them, 'This is what we've heard from people. Now, we need to find out what the residents really want this center to be.'

“They did one survey for businesses first and we sent it out to all business members. Now, we're doing one for community members who actually be using it.”

There are many possible uses for a community center – everything from a walking track to pool, to a community social area to meeting rooms and other possibilities. Residents of Crawford County may take the survey by going to the Grayling Regional Chamber of Commerce on Facebook and clicking on the survey announcement. The Chamber will hold a follow-up meeting regarding the survey on Thursday, March 8 at 6 p.m. at the Eagles Hall.

For more information, contact the Grayling Regional Chamber of Commerce at (989) 348-2921.

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