Frequently Asked Questions: Redevelopment Ready Communities®
The Redevelopment Ready Communities® (RRC) program is available to communities across the state. It is designed to empower communities to shape their future by establishing a solid foundation that retains and attracts business investment and talent.
RRC is a no-cost, technical assistance, statewide certification program. It evaluates and certifies
that a community has integrated transparency, predictability and efficiency into daily development practices through a set of best practices. RRC is not a cookie cutter approach. While every community must meet all of the best practices criteria to achieve certification, communities can meet the criteria in a variety of ways. You do what works best for your community.
RRC supports the Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s (MEDC) community development focus on building vibrant communities. Business needs talent, talent wants place, and place needs business.
To empower communities to chart their own growth, RRC engagement will also be a criterion used to assess and prioritize Community Development investments (beginning October 1, 2017).
Working through and accomplishing the RRC Best Practices is beneficial to a community for a number of reasons:
- Streamlining processes and procedures internally makes better use of staff time and allows for cross-training and succession planning.
- Participating communities recognize the value in receiving a third party, outside review of their planning, zoning and development plans, processes and policies.
- Certification is the “Good Housekeeping” seal of approval, indicating that your community goes above and beyond statutory requirements and is truly open for investment.
- Communities with a traditional downtown need to be formally engaged in RRC to be prioritized for community development incentives. Communities without a traditional downtown must be certified RRC to be eligible for community development incentives.
- RRC is an ongoing partnership with a community, and MEDC will work with the community throughout the process to provide support when needed.
- There is technical assistance match funding available to communities that have received a formal evaluation and passed a resolution to move forward.
- MEDC will promote up to 3 of your community’s available redevelopment sites upon certification. We assist in the development of site marketing materials and bring them to conferences and events both in Michigan and across the country. This is a chance to promote your redevelopment opportunities to developers that have never completed a project in your community.
RRC is a no cost, technical assistance program. While staff time is required to participate, meeting the Best Practices criteria can often save time in the long run by having clearly outlined processes with documented timelines.
To engage with the RRC program, a community must follow a 3-step process. It first must take part in the RRC Best Practices training series and then complete the RRC Best Practices self-evaluation. Finally, the community’s governing body must pass a resolution of intent to participate in the program.
For guidance throughout this process, please contact your assigned Community Assistance Team (CATeam) Specialist. All completed documents will be submitted directly to them. The community’s information is reviewed by an RRC planner and then placed in the pipeline for a formal evaluation by RRC staff.
The RRC Best Practices trainings are offered at various locations across the state several times each year. You can find upcoming trainings on our Trainings & Events page.
The time it takes communities to achieve certification varies. The shortest time to achieve certification was 9 months after receiving the formal evaluation, while other communities have taken approximately 3 years. Timing depends on what criteria remains to be accomplished; a master plan update alone can take over a year.
Ultimately, RRC helps communities build capacity by streamlining and documenting processes, preserving and sharing institutional knowledge and building partnerships. Participation in RRC is a long-term relationship between MEDC Community Development staff and your community. We are here to provide you with examples from other communities, resource guides and ongoing technical assistance.
Other things to keep in mind:
- Economic development success cannot be done in a vacuum. RRC encourages communities to work with their local partners, including Economic Development Corporations (EDCs), Downtown Development Authorities (DDAs), Chambers, Main Street organizations, etc. to meet the Best Practices criteria.
- Documenting processes can often save staff time in the long run. When your community has a vision for the future and the processes and policies in place to get there, the process can be streamlined. We also have a variety of guides and examples to assist with meeting the Best Practices criteria.
- Beginning in 2017, we are partnering with the Michigan Municipal League to provide technical assistance to communities wanting to engage in RRC. This will include hands-on assistance with the RRC self-evaluation.
The planner assigned to your community will present the Report of Findings to your governing body and other stakeholders. Your governing body is required to pass a resolution to proceed with the recommendations outlined in the report.
RRC staff and your Community Assistance Team (CATeam) Specialist can provide your community with examples and guides to meet missing Best Practices criteria. Technical assistance match funding is also available to communities in good standing. Regular progress reports outlining criteria completed are also required. Once all of the criteria have been achieved, certification is awarded.
RRC is voluntary. To empower communities to chart their own growth, RRC engagement will be a criterion used to assess and prioritize Community Development investments (beginning October 1, 2017).
Technical assistance match funding is flexible, as long as the project helps move your community closer to certification.
Packaging of Redevelopment Ready Sites, marketing strategies, economic development strategies, form-based codes, zoning audits and training are also examples of available assistance.
RRC was launched by the Michigan Suburbs Alliance (now Metro Matters) to assist inner ring Detroit suburbs with redevelopment. Many of the inner ring suburbs were built out, with no vacant land to develop, so redevelopment was their only option. The MEDC saw the value in taking RRC statewide, and purchased the program in 2012, launching RRC statewide in 2013.
The RRC advisory council is made up of a cross-section of public and private sector experts who lend their expertise to the RRC team. Advisory council members contribute technical assistance and subject matter expertise to community evaluations, recommendation reports, and future RRC program direction. The council is made up of public and private sector individuals including economic development, planning and real estate development professionals as well as local government officials. View a list of current advisory council members
RRC has developed step-by-step guides for many of the Best Practices criteria, so you can work to achieve missing criteria at your own pace for little to no cost. View available guides in RRC Resources.