PONTIAC, MICH. — May 5, 2009 —
Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson and top officials from Genesee, Livingston and St. Clair counties Tuesday announced the formation of the Economic Growth Alliance to collaborate on joint opportunities for economic growth, diversification and affect legislation that may impact the four counties.
“We went to the counties where we have a shared connection,” Patterson said during a press conference at the Marriott at Centerpoint in Pontiac. “These are the growth counties I like and I want to be a part of that. This is a no-brainer for us because we share so much in common.”
Patterson was joined at the announcement by Flint Mayor Michael Brown; Ted Henry, chairman of the Genesee County Board of Commissioners; Fred Dillingham, former state senator and current economic development director for Livingston County; and Wally Evans, chairman of the St. Clair County Board of Commissioners. The officials all signed a non-binding copy of the agreement on Tuesday. The alliance represents 2 million residents.
“We’ve collaborated over the years but never formalized it like we have today,” Dillingham said. “We’ll be meeting and planning and working closely together rather than just bumping into each other.”
Patterson cited several key assets from the alliance that will be catalysts for developing business opportunities, including the Blue Water Bridge in Port Huron, Interstate 69 and the I-96/U.S. 23/M-59 corridor, Flint’s Bishop International Airport and Oakland County’s Medical Main Street initiative. The most valuable asset for the alliance possesses is its skilled work force.
“We think and act regionally to benefit us locally,” Brown said. “It’s good for Oakland County and for Genesee County. It’s bi-partisan and if we’re going to have any kind of clout in Washington D.C., we need to come together without worrying about party lines.”
Discussions to form the alliance began months ago with the downturn in the economy and the domestic auto industry. Patterson said it made sense to formalize the relationships and take advantage of the quality of life, technology base and skilled work force the alliance has.
“We think this is the right time and in the months ahead we will have more counties joining us,” Patterson said.
The alliance will meet quarterly or as needed to discuss matters of importance to the group.
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