LANSING – State Representative John Kivela (D-Marquette) and State Senator Tom Casperson (R-Escanaba) today thanked the Michigan Strategic Fund Board (MSF) for giving its final approval to the Superior Trade Zone Next Michigan Development Corporation. The creation of the Next Michigan Zone was approved when Gov. Rick Snyder signed Kivela’s House Bill 4782 and Casperson’s Senate Bill 397 into law in 2013. Those bills created a sixth zone in the Next Michigan Development Act including the central Upper Peninsula. The act, part of the “Aerotropolis” legislation of 2010, provided for the creation of up to five Next Michigan Development Corps., entities that encourage economic development and investment, job creation and retention, and ancillary economic growth.

“I am thrilled that the communities in Delta and Marquette Counties that worked so hard to put this trade zone together can now get down to the business of retaining and attracting jobs and companies to our area to strengthen our local economies,” said Kivela. “This is a huge step forward for the Upper Peninsula and will help us spread the message that the U.P. has the resources, workers and talent employers are looking for and this is a good place to work, live and raise a family.”

The Superior Trade Zone is a coalition of 16 governmental units including Delta and Marquette Counties; the Cities of Escanaba, Gladstone, and Marquette; and the townships of Bark River, Chocolay, Ely, Ford River, Forsyth, Garden, Ishpeming, Maple Ridge, Nahma, Richmond, and Wells. 

“I am extremely excited about the potential for economic development opportunities that this zone will create throughout the central Upper Peninsula”, said Marquette Mayor Michael Coyne. “I could not be more appreciative of the unanimous vote today by the MSF Board.”

As a Next Michigan Development Corporation, the Superior Trade Zone will leverage and promote business development actions that focus on the assets and logistics infrastructure unique to the region, including land located near the Delta County Airport Industrial Park and the Telkyte Industrial Park located at the former Air Force base in Marquette County. The Superior Trade Zone may utilize incentives allowed with the designation as well as its natural resources, agricultural, mining and tourism industries, and trade opportunities that occur with Canada.

“I am thankful to all the partners in Marquette and Delta Counties for their sincere and sustained effort over the past three years to make the Superior Trade Zone a reality,” said Casperson.  “I am excited and hopeful that the initiative will foster an environment for economic success throughout the U.P.  Through this effort, we now have a unique platform for collaboration that will permit us to build upon local strengths and support existing business to accelerate business growth in the U.P.”

 “I want to thank the Michigan Strategic Fund (MSF) for approving the Superior Trade Zone’s application for designation as a Next Michigan Development Corporation,” said Kivela. “I look forward to seeing our communities enjoy the benefits this will bring to the U.P.”