Inside Our Work

CIB goes beyond consulting and community planning. We deliver results that are borne out of decades of experience, strong relationships, and continual success serving communities of all sizes.  We combine community planning with marketing, branding and implementation strategies; building tools for communities to transform their vision into reality while being a collaborative and trustworthy partner in every step.

Community Marketing & Branding

As a technical assistance consultant for MEDC’s RRC Certification program, CIB has helped many Michigan communities plan for new investment and reinvestment, identify assets and opportunities, focus limited resources, attract and retain businesses, and streamline development approval processes. CIB’s team of passionate, committed experts have the real-life experience and every-day practice that goes beyond consulting—by  integrating economic development strategies with place branding & marketing strategies, we build customized, thorough, and creative step-by-step plans for communities of all sizes. Learn more here.

The City of Negaunee, MI

The City of Negaunee selected CIB Planning and design partner Olmsted Associates to develop a strategic marketing and branding plan for the community and a Developer Toolkit promoting the city to prospective investors and businesses. The city leadership knew the time was right to modernize and rebrand the community as the recreational hub of Marquette County. The city’s new visual brand and tagline “Forge Your Adventure” pays homage to the mining history while emphasizing the recreationally-based economy, and speaks to potential investors, developers, and business owners who appreciate and value the types of year-round adventures enjoyed by many in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Learn more about this project.

The City of Hart, MI

CIB was selected as the technical consulting team when the City of Hart initiated the Redevelopment Ready Community Certification (RRC) process in late 2018. CIB Planning led public involvement efforts, facilitated steering committee meetings and SWOT sessions, assisted with project identification and prioritization, and laid out a detailed economic marketing and branding strategy. Based on recommendations and the implementation plan, the city successfully implemented #Takemetohart as the primary marketing tag line, and created a new Economic and Redevelopment website.

New banners with the marketing campaign elements can be seen in the Downtown and Commercial districts. A local business gift card program was launched offering matching funds, and has seen an over $10,000 reinvestment in the community every year since its inception, Hart’s program inspired a county-wide initiative “Discover Oceana” where 100+ businesses participate in the sale of 1,200+ gift cards. The program generated $42,000 for Oceana businesses through the course of one season.

Vienna Township BDA, MI

CIB was selected to build a comprehensive branding and marketing strategy that included a target market analysis for Vienna Township’s Business Development Authority (BDA). A comprehensive commercial, retail, and housing target market analysis were completed during the first phase of the project, providing data that informed the economic development marketing and branding process. The CIB team worked with the BDA staff, local business owners, elected officials, and residents to identify community strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats; and gathered place branding insights from stakeholders and residents. The CIB team developed brand positioning statements and logos and is in process of completing a comprehensive economic development marketing strategy to attract area investment.

The City of Romulus, MI

CIB was selected as the technical consulting team when the City of Romulus initiated the RRC process in early 2019. Romulus has a massive economic advantage due to its location as the home of Detroit Metro Airport, the crossroads of I-94 and I-275, major rail and less than a 30 minute drive to Ann Arbor, Detroit and Canada. CIB worked with the steering committee to leverage the community assets and help identify priority goals and objectives. Part of the strategic plan includes an economic development marketing strategy that identifies steps to meet the goals while keeping the vision for the future in focus. CIB led public involvement efforts, facilitated steering committee meetings and SWOT sessions, assisted in project identification and prioritization, and will continue to lead Romulus through the RRC best practices process with eventual certification by 2020.

Grand Blanc Township, MI

CIB built a comprehensive branding and marketing strategy for the Grand Blanc Township Downtown Development Authority (DDA) in the fall of 2019. The CIB Marketing team worked with the DDA to identify unique community assets and opportunities. The CIB team built a comprehensive economic development marketing and branding strategy to attract area investment. Specific target audiences were outlined and key messages were crafted, and detailed marketing tactics that promote the community and attract new business have been put into motion. The delivery of the plan included a full graphics package complete with a township logo and multimedia branding and advertising collateral. Learn more.

Economic Development & Ongoing Planning

Accelerate: A Plan for Regional Prosperity

Accelerate is a unified plan that creates a road map for unified actions leading to jobs, international marketing opportunities and investment. CIB Planning led public involvement efforts, facilitated steering committee meetings and SWOT sessions, assisted in project identification and prioritization and helped write the plan. CIB Planning managed the economic development, public involvement, intergovernmental cooperation, and tax increment financing for this project.

CIB Planning was the lead planning firm for the collaborative planning process for a seven-county area coordinated Federal Economic Development Strategy and State Prosperity Plan. Shiawassee, Genesee, Lapeer, St. Clair, Tuscola, Huron, and Sanilac counties in the northeast region of Michigan’s lower peninsula worked to establish, evaluate, prioritize, and develop a unified vision and economic development plan for the prosperity of their region.

Economic Development & Ongoing Planning: Frenchtown Charter Township, MI

Frenchtown Township in Monroe County is actively working to bring high-quality retail, commercial, and residential development to the community. As the ongoing planner for Frenchtown Township, CIB Planning assisting the township to achieve their economic development goas by updating the zoning ordinance to include Planned Unit Development designations and developing two Corridor Improvement Areas to support redevelopment and improvement. Our team members also provide support on site plan reviews and coordinate developer matchmaking to guide quality re/development.

Economic Development & Ongoing Planning: Brownstown Charter Township, MI

Brownstown Charter Township in Monroe County has a population of over 30,500 and has three separate but connected segments due to the incorporation of the cities of Flat Rock, Rockwood, and Woodhaven in the early 1960s. One of the projects CIB Planning’s team is working on includes a pre-development study for what will be a new town center, and will assist the community with the full implementation of the development including community branding and marketing. CIB Planning is also the ongoing planning consultant providing office hours and development support.

Economic Development & Ongoing Planning: Texas Charter Township, MI

Texas Charter Township has a population of about 17,500 and serves Kalamazoo proper as a bedroom community containing residential, agricultural, and small commercial uses. As the planning consultant, CIB Planning supports all planning functions and performs special projects. The team is amending the Zoning Ordinance to meet current planning and zoning demands and to ensure consistency and clarity in standards. CIB is also developing the Capital Improvement Program and providing economic development assistance to township staff.   

Economic Development Strategy: Grand Blanc, MI

The City of Grand Blanc adopted the Economic Development Strategy created by CIB Planning on March 13, 2019. 

The plan is a road map to improve economic vitality through education, infrastructure, regional collaboration, industry, and destination strategies. For example, a collaborative partnership objective includes steps to enter discussions with Grand Blanc Township about the possibility of expanding the city footprint to accommodate new growth opportunities. A destination action item is to continue efforts to make Grand Blanc a destination city with a high quality of life by becoming a Certified Welcoming Community through Welcoming America. CIB Planning continues to assist Grand Blanc throughout the plan’s implementation. To date, the project included leading and facilitating steering committee meetings with SWOT analysis sessions, stakeholder engagement activities, presentations to the planning committee, market research, demographic analysis, and project management.

Meridian Township

The April/May 2019 issue of the Michigan Planner magazine featured an article about a tax increment financing tool developed by CIB Planning. Meridian Township’s DDA is benefiting from the use of this tool in the Village of Okemos’s redevelopment.

A number of properties in the Village of Okemos in Meridian Township (Ingham County) are vacant and deteriorating. What’s more, some of the properties have underground contamination issues that are area-wide and very expensive to clean up. While some state funding is available for cleanup, actual redevelopment of the properties will take additional monies not available from traditional private sources.

Without an alternative financial tool, redevelopment in the Village of Okemos cannot happen. CIB Planning, working with Advanced Redevelopment Solutions and the Meridian Township DDA, went to work developing a financing tool to fund this “gap”. This involved updating the Township’s DDA and Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Plan.

Click here to read the full article.

Maxfield Training Center Building (MTC), Downtown Farmington, MI

For over six years the City of Farmington and Farmington School District had worked to redevelop a vacant former school building for much needed downtown housing. Significant effort had gone into developing plans, preparing a request for proposals, and working with two separate developers. The property has significant environmental contamination both in the building and underground that require demolition as part of the redevelopment effort. The site is also located next to both a city park and historic residential neighborhood, limiting the extent of development that is possible. The ability to overcome these site conditions was further impacted by the pandemic and corresponding freeze in State MEDC funding, which is a resource sought by most downtown redevelopment projects. Both the City and Downtown Development Authority (DDA) retained CIB Planning and teammate Advanced Redevelopment Solutions (ARS) to overcome these obstacles and facilitate implementation of the project. In addition to the use of brownfield funding to cover the estimated $3.24 million cleanup cost, the team is working with the DDA to update its DDA Plan and facilitate project-specific tax increment financing. This additional financing tool allows the city to close the funding gap and select from a group of client developers brought in by the CIB/ARS Team.

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Each of the CIB practices—Planning, Marketing, and Economic Development—are divisions of Community Image Builders (CIB).

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