Berrien County joins regional economic development group

ST. JOSEPH — In an effort to attract new businesses to southwest Michigan, Berrien County and two other local economic development organizations are joining the Michiana Partnership.

On Thursday, the Berrien County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously approve the county’s move to join Michiana Partnership, which is a collaboration of the economic development partners from Elkhart, Kosciusko, Marshall, Fulton and St. Joseph counties in northern Indiana.

The Niles-based Southwestern Michigan Economic Growth Alliance (SMEGA) and Benton Harbor-based Cornerstone Alliance are also joining Michiana Partnership under a joint agreement with Berrien County.

The three entities will split the annual membership cost of $40,000 with the county paying $20,000, Cornerstone Alliance paying $15,000 and SMEGA paying $5,000.

They will all share a single vote on the Michiana Partnership’s decision-making board.

Dan Fette, the community development director for Berrien County, said joining Michiana Partnership would allow Berrien County to become part of the overall region that the partnership markets for business attraction and recruitment.

“I am happy that we are joining this,” Fette said. “I think it will provide many greater opportunities for business attraction here in Berrien County that we otherwise wouldn’t have. It looks like it will be a very beneficial thing for the county as a whole.”

Fette said while Berrien County was associated with Michiana Partnership years ago, it was never been a formal member until now.

He said the partnership holds monthly meetings where members discuss marketing efforts, budgets and other economic development matters.

“It gets us more opportunities for business leads for companies that are looking to locate into the area,” Fette said. “These are companies that right now might have connections to (Michiana Partnership) but are completely shut off from us in southwest Michigan because we aren’t part of their overall marketing efforts. This gives us an opportunity to get involved in that.”

Fette also said the move would help make Michiana an identifiable economic region, like the Chicago to Milwaukee corridor or the Detroit/Pontiac region.

“When we are all working as small individual groups either on a county level or a local level it is impossible to create that kind of marketing identity or presence,” he said.

News

Video shows altercation at flag football game in Niles

Breaking News

Fire contained at former Niles Inn

Brandywine Education

Former Brandywine teacher charged with accosting a minor for immoral purposes, use of a computer to commit a felony

Berrien County

COVID-19 UPDATE: Berrien County reports two COVID-19 deaths

Berrien County

4-H announces alumni, supporters walking challenge

Education

Ballard Elementary, Niles High School to remain remote through end of the week

Business

Niles real estate agent named Realtor of the Year

News

Evergreen Road special assessment district created

Cass County

Cass County millages on the ballot for May 4

Dowagiac

Dowagiac announces March students of the month

Buchanan

Local provisioning centers celebrate cannabis holiday with sales, overcome software snags

Berrien County

COVID-19 UPDATE: Michigan reports 799,140 cases, 16,986 deaths

Dowagiac

DUS to install classroom phones in elementary schools, high school

Berrien County

Berrien County 4-H Leaders Association sets annual meeting

Dowagiac

DUS Board of Education honors Class of 2021 Top 10

Buchanan

Buchanan HCU member center lands new leadership

Berrien County

United Way of Southwest Michigan invites community to honor leaders during National Volunteer Week

Buchanan

Buchanan provisioning center raises money to fight cannabis injustices

Cass County

Cass County Sheriff’s Office K9 finds home invasion, larceny suspect

Berrien County

UPDATE: Sheriff’s office finds missing Niles man

Brandywine Education

Teacher resigns after allegedly soliciting 14-year-old

Berrien County

COVID-19 UPDATE: Michigan reports 793,881 cases, 16,901 deaths

Business

Cassopolis to welcome first marijuana dispensary

Berrien County

Merritt Elementary hosting pet supply drive for area shelters