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Community Initiatives by Develop Iosco Awarded Grant Funding

In Iosco County there are some exciting new developments.

Develop Iosco is an economic development organization, they multiple initiatives that we focus on from childcare, high speed internet, small business development; as well as environmental concerns that are surrounding the possible decommissioning or relicensing of the dams on the lower Au Sable River. Executive Director of Develop Iosco, Chris Martin, explains some challenges they have had. “We nearly had to roll up the doors of the of the organization because of lack of participation. We had a core group of volunteers that pushed harder and got us through the pandemic and actually led us to our growth state that we are in now,” he said. “We’ve redone our bylaws, and our sector seats of our board members, and it really gives us a diverse representation of Iosco County.”

Because of their persistence, Develop Iosco can now boast a few victories coming to fruition. “Some of our more recent successes are with our childcare coalition and that initiative. We’ve been able to secure over $200,000 in grants to be able to develop a study of where our childcare needs are,” said Martin.

Thanks to Develop Iosco’s grant awarded to teach grant writing to community members this county is experiencing an influx of funds, including a $750,000 grant recently received by Au Sable township to build their new farmer’s market. “We recently were awarded a $50,000 grant from the Office of Rural Development, and that grant was as used for grant writing services for Iosco County,” said Martin.

They will be holding another grant writing workshop in early May. In the meantime, Martin claims they have a lot of exciting things to look forward to. “Our vision for the next year is really to bring all the partners together, all the municipalities, to make sure that we’re working together for our economic future,” he said. “It’s really important. We’re in a growing phase as a county and as an organization, and teamwork is really the key to all of what we have going on.”