Hackel: ‘The state of Macomb County is strong’

County Executive talks growth, innovation during State of the County

By: Julie Snyder | C&G Newspapers | Published December 8, 2016

 Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel shared only good news during his sixth State of the County address at the Macomb Center for the Performing Arts on Dec. 7.

Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel shared only good news during his sixth State of the County address at the Macomb Center for the Performing Arts on Dec. 7.

Photo by Sarah Purlee

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MACOMB COUNTY — During his Dec. 7 State of the County address, Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel touted the ongoing momentum that’s continually bringing new life into the area.

He noted how the Make Macomb Your Home initiative has birthed a vitality in the county that was once considered lagging.

“Make Macomb Your Home … four words that have evolved into a distinctive brand to promote and celebrate all things Macomb County,” Hackel said during the invitation-only address held at the Macomb Center for the Performing Arts in Clinton Township.

Hackel said the county of 865,000 residents has in recent years become a leader in information technology, cybersecurity, agriculture, business and jobs.

Currently, he said, there are 400 IT companies thriving across the county with more than 9,000 people working in the field.

Hackel went on to add that the county is comprised of 27 cities, townships and villages, 484 square miles of landscape, 182 parks, 155 miles of trails, 32 miles of freshwater coastline and 17,000 businesses, which make it an attractive place for investors. Job growth in the county and the number of people employed are at their highest marks in 15 years, and Hackel said taxpayers should be reminded that Fiat Chrysler has committed $1.4 billion at the Sterling Heights Assembly Plant.

“No longer is Macomb County remaining idle,” he said. “We are a preferred destination for transformational economic investment.”

In addition, manufacturing companies have invested more than $6 billion in the county since 2010, and this year’s opening of Jimmy John’s Field in Utica is yet again putting the spotlight on the county, with eight players being picked up by the major leagues. He said more expansions at the field are planned for 2017.

Hackel’s sixth such speech in front of a crowd of approximately 1,500 also highlighted the county’s improved parks and recreation assets, the successful Macomb County Family Community Resource Center through Macomb Community Action, historic job growth, advanced technology at COMTEC, economic development improvements, as well as the Blue Economy and Green Macomb programs, which resulted in the Urban Forestry program.

He went on to talk about what’s happening at the three county metroparks — Stony Creek, Wolcott Mill and Lake St. Clair — and how partnerships with organizations like the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and the Michigan State Housing Development Authority have helped the county, along with the Clinton River Watershed Council, develop a crowdfunding program for a canoe and kayak launch at MacArthur Park in Mount Clemens.

He said the state approved to provide matching funds under the Public Spaces Community Places grant program.

“This is our first opportunity at a major crowdfunding campaign,” Hackel said, adding that donations can be made on the Make Macomb Your Home website. The state will match up to $50,000 in contributions.

Macomb County is also home to Selfridge Air National Guard Base, home of the 127th Wing, which was last year named the top flying unit in the National Guard, and most recently was named a finalist to be the home base to the F-35 fighter aircraft. He said the county can look forward to the many events planned throughout 2017 at the base as it celebrates its 100th anniversary.

“This is an affirmation of the value of our hometown base,” Hackel said.

Hackel also pointed out the national attention the county received during this past election when 54 percent of voters in Macomb County ultimately decided the win for President-elect Donald Trump in the state, flipping it from its usual Democratic preference. He doesn’t agree with those who say it was the result of straight-ticket voting.

“I believe crossover independent votes decided who won in this election,” he said. “The voters in Macomb County vote for people rather than a party.”

To view the 2016 Macomb County State of the County address in its entirety, go to www.macombgov.org.

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