Grand Rapids Business Journal reports following new economic investments in suburban cities and townships has been extensive in 2016, and when taken all together, it provides a strong indication of continued growth and economic diversity for the entire region, stretching in every direction. Much of that growth is the result of the determination of several local businesses to remain and grow in Grand Rapids, attracting suppliers, customers and the notice of other companies. The Business Journal salutes the tenacity of these business owners as the region sees new industry and technology. Business growth has helped fuel the population growth of the region and assures income growth.
Census data in 2016 showed the Grand Rapids metropolitan statistical area is the fastest growing in the state of Michigan, adding another 9,621 to the population in a one-year period. The Right Place Inc. economic development group, serving four area counties, notes growth is almost double the next closest MSA in Michigan. Kent County led overall growth within the MSA with 6,144 of the total population growth. The Right Place study of the statistical information showed significant job growth in not one but several industries, including manufacturing (39 percent growth), construction (27 percent), hospitals (21 percent) and scientific and technical services (19 percent).
Right Place President and CEO Birgit Klohs notes, “The growth our region is experiencing today is the result of decades of long-term, collaborative investment.” She writes at rightplace.org, “This is a region that is influencing its own destiny, working together to ensure that everyone grows together.”
In Sparta, the Business Journal reported $30 million in new development, including Tesa Tape and General Formulations expansions, a new headquarters for Natural Choice Foods and Cascade Die Casting — Gaines Township, Byron Center, Hudsonville and Wyoming have seen similar expansions. Those projects in Sparta are adding another 200 jobs.
Sparta Village Manager Julius Suchy told the Business Journal, “There is something special going on in West Michigan as it relates to Grand Rapids. Grand Rapids is looked at throughout the state and region as in an envious position, and communities like Sparta benefit from that.”
The growth of Grand Rapids’ urban population, as well as that of nearby neighborhoods certainly has been fueled by the developers and local business owners creating an ever livelier environment for a young workforce drawn by the successes.
The economic ripple effect assuredly impacts growth well beyond West Michigan.