Anchor Initiative Planing Jackson Revilatilzation

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When it came time to graduate from college, Leslie Youngdahl says accepting a job in her hometown was an easy choice. But she says the reality of living in a smaller city has some downsides, especially when it comes to her free time.

"I think anywhere you go it's obviously nice to have more choices," Youngdahl said.

But a group of local companies are trying to change that.
More than 20 businesses are members of an Anchor Initiative. They are promoting downtown Jackson as a hub for business development and a place for young people to live.

"What we see with the Millennials is that they want to work downtown and live downtown and we want to make that happen for them," said John Russel, President and CEO of Consumers Energy, a company based in Jackson.

One area they're targeting is housing since the city only has 42 market-rate apartments. With more than 12,000 employees just between the anchor companies, Patti Poppe, who works for Consumers Energy and helped plan the anchor project, says there's room for growth.

"Now that's going to be a dynamic change for a town our size that will make a big difference," Poppe said.

At the center of that is redeveloping the historic Woolworth Building in downtown Jackson. Consumers Energy purchased the building and plans on using it not only as a headquarters for Anchors Initiative but as a place that leads the city in innovation.

"The real solution are the people of Jackson doing it together as a team," Gov. Snyder said at the Anchor Initiative Launch.

Gov. Snyder supports the initiative and says the group is on the right track.

"I think this will help retain people here in Jackson but also help grow in terms of more jobs coming downtown to Jackson, there's an opportunity for more housing to be built down here and to do more rehabs to get more people living down in this area," Gov. Snyder said.

Youngdahl says she's excited for the future. "With all the things that are coming I can definitely see myself staying here as well," she added.