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Graduation Day for Evart

The city of Evart has officially graduated from the Project Rising Tide program. During a ceremony on September 5th at the Evart Depot, Governor Rick Snyder presented a compass to Mayor Casey Keysor, to symbolize the work accomplished and the work still to do.  The compass which is used for navigation and orientation, has become the symbol to represent the work by officials in Evart in other cities that have graduated. “The work put in to be a redevelopment-ready community has been tremendous,” Snyder said. “What I’m encouraged by, is this graduation doesn’t mean work is done, it means you only have more opportunities."

Evart was named one of the first Project Rising Tide communities by Snyder in 2016. The initiative, which is sponsored by the Michigan Department of Talent and Economic Development, provides communities with the tools they need to design and build a solid planning, zoning and economic development foundation to attract new businesses and help existing employers to grow. Michigan Works! West Central has been helping city leaders and employers identify and address workforce development needs in the community as well as offering mobile workshops on resume and job search techniques and soft skills training.

"Communities whose leaders work together to overcome challenges and find common goals continue to show that collaboration is key to helping Michigan communities grow and thrive,” Snyder said. “Evart’s graduation today is another example of how Michigan wins when we all work together to create positive change.”

In graduating, many doors have begun to open for the community of Evart with funding. "Now that we have graduated from and will continue to have a connection with Rising Tide, we will be looked at for other possible programs and grants," said Evart City Manager Zackary Szakacs. 

Evart recently applied for the Michigan Main Street Program. As part of the program, Evart will receive five years of intensive technical assistance from the MEDC with a focus on revitalization strategies designed to attract new residents, business investments, economic growth and job creation to their central business districts. Zakacs hopes to apply for more grants in the future. "I think it's important to remember that the program will always be a part of the community," Szakacs said. "They aren't going to leave us to figure it all out from here. If we need them, they are there to offer advice and guidance moving forward."

Evart is the eighth community to graduate from Rising Tide, which Snyder created to provide technical assistance and resources to communities aspiring to rise so they, together, can build a stronger framework for economic success.