Downtown Sebewaing

Officials look to spur downtown Sebewaing business activities

Downtown Sebewaing
Downtown Sebewaing

Officials are looking to spur business development in downtown Sebewaing through a plan to show off available properties, and offer new economic incentives.
An open house is being lead by the Sebewaing Main Street Action Group and intended to show potential business owners more than 10 properties in the downtown area available for sale or lease. The properties range from less than 2,000 square feet to more than 11,000.
The event is set for 2:45 p.m. to 6 p.m., Nov. 3, starting at the Sebewaing Chamber of Commerce office, 222 N. Center St., Sebewaing.
Concurrently, incentives – yet to be approved by Sebewaing Village Council – could be on the way and provide utility breaks to new businesses in town over the course of three years.
“It’s very important for us to be business-friendly,” said Sami Khoury, a Huron County commissioner whose district includes the village of Sebewaing. “We want to attract business, we don’t want to deter it.
“We heard another community was rejecting business, so we want to show that we’re reaching out to them,” he said.
Melanie McCoy, director, Sebewaing Light & Water, said the idea for the open house came from another community.
“We kind of copied Imlay City because they did it a year-and-a-half ago,” McCoy said. “And somebody had suggested we should do that so all of the sudden it seemed like a good time.”
McCoy said renewed concentration on developing downtown Sebewaing has come through the village being part of the Michigan Main Street program, which is an initiative offered through the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA).
The program uses a so-called “four-point approach” to encourage economic development through historic preservation in ways that also take into account current market conditions by focusing on four points: design, economic restructuring, promotion, and organization.
The Sebewaing group began brainstorming in February and can already point to Sebewaing’s RiverFire event held earlier this month.
McCoy said the open house will begin with a brief presentation of what Sebewaing can offer businesses, such as its fiber optic Internet network.
“It’s open to the public and we’re hoping to have potential business owners,” McCoy said.
McCoy said the open house also will inform potential business owners of the economic incentives she has developed.
Though still in need of village council approval (expected within the next two weeks), McCoy said she has developed an “economic development incentive rider” that “is designed to attract new businesses, and to support existing business expansion.
McCoy said the break on electric rates “is intended to encourage companies for whom electric sercie is material in their site selection decision to locate or expand in its service territory, and take electric service from the Sebewaing Light and Water.”
McCoy told The Advertiser that “one of the things that we were looking at in Sebewaing is what do we have to offer? Why Sebewaing? Why would somebody want to come here?”
“This is something that we could do from a utility standpoint…try to give some economic incentive rates,” she said.
McCoy said that through the program, businesses that open in new or vacant buildings will receive the breaks. The incentives include an initial 15 percent rate discount for businesses that open in vacant buildings and use an average of 20kW or more.
A breakdown of all of the incentives is as follows:
• New buildings — 20kW or more —  Declining rate discount over 3 years (15 percent, 10 percent, 5 percent).
• Vacant buildings — 20kW or more — Declining rate discount over 3 years (15 percent, 10 percent, 5 percent).
• New or Vacant buildings — 50kW or more — Declining rate discount over 4 years (20 percent, 15 percent, 10 percent, 5 percent).
• New or Vacant buildings — 100kW or more — Declining rate discount over 5 years (25 percent, 20 percent, 15 percent, 10 percent, 5 percent).
Andrew Dietderich is editor of The Advertiser and can be reached at

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