Target working with MEDC to bring new business

ALPENA – Target Alpena Director Jim Klarich presented his quarterly report to Alpena Municipal Council on Monday and explained how the current relationship between the Michigan Economic Development Corporation is leading a face-to-face meeting with potential developers.

In October, the MEDC Attraction Team visited Alpena and the surrounding area to highlight Alpena’s assets and develop a stronger relationship. After the meeting it was determined Target could take part with the MEDC in a pair of site selection conferences to meet with potential developers face to face.

“There is one in Chicago and another in Atlanta,” Klarich said. “What they will do is give us the opportunity to meet one-on-one with about 150 site selectors. We will be able to tell the story of Alpena, what it has and what its assets are.”

Klarich said Target is continuing to promote area tourism, playing a key role in the county’s quest to have unmanned aircraft testing and training at the airport and helping new businesses find locations and funding. He said in the last four months Target has helped several businesses acquire money to start up or make improvements.

“We want to help our small companies become stable and grow,” Klarich said. “In the last quarter Target approved two loan commitments. One for a major rehab project downtown and the other for the purchase of a long vacant downtown building.”

In other business:

  • the council accepted a bid from Omega Electric for $8,876 to put high-efficient lighting in the vehicle storage area of the the public works facility. The city will receive a reimbursement of $3,470 from Efficiency United when the work is complete. City Engineer Rich Sullenger said the city should save more than $3,000 a year on operating costs and the pay back on the investment is 1.6 years.
  • Councilman Shawn Sexton expressed some concern over Mayor Matt Waligora’s selection to the Alpena Area Chamber of Commerce Board. Sexton said appointments should be done through the entire council and the mayor circumvented the procedure. Sexton also questioned whether it was a conflict of interest because the chamber lobbies politicians on issues that may or not be in the best interest of the city. City attorney Bill Pfeifer said the city does not have a designated seat on the chamber board and it was a public seat that anyone from the county, township, school or other entities could hold if approved by the chamber. He said he will look into the matter further to see if there is a clear conflict of interest and report back to the council on the matter during the Feb. 18 meeting.

Steve Schulwitz can be reached via e-mail at or by phone at 358-5689.