UM-Dearborn’s eCities study ranks Orion Twp. a five-star community

Orion Township was once again named a five-star community in the annual eCities study conducted by researchers at iLabs, University of Michigan-Dearborn’s Center for Innovation Research.

The township was recognized for its successes and efforts in contributing to Michigan’s entrepreneurial growth and economic development.

“We are thrilled to be recognized again as a five-star community,” Orion Township Supervisor Chris Barnett said. “Our team has worked tirelessly to create a welcoming entrepreneurial environment while protecting and maintaining our small-town feel and the amenities our residents have come to expect.”

eCities is an annual research study that examines community-level factors that influence entrepreneurship, economic development and job growth.

“While accounting for only about 15 percent of the cities and townships in Michigan, the 277 communities analyzed are home to nearly 70 percent of the population and 85 percent of the state’s commercial property,” said iLabs Director Timothy Davis.

Researchers focused on the five-year changes in property values, community assets and tax rates, which can demonstrate the growth, investments and cost of doing business within the community.

“By analyzing these high-performing communities, our goal is to showcase what cities and townships are doing to spur growth and how we can continue to support their efforts in developing business and encouraging entrepreneurs,” Davis said.

In northern Oakland County, Brandon, Oakland and Oxford townships and the cities of Pontiac and Rochester Hills also received five-star rankings.

Independence and Holly townships and the City of Rochester received four-star community rankings.

Over a five-year period from 2014-2018, these communities increased their capital assets by an average of 2.25 percent per year by investments such as road and parking structure improvements, water main and streetscape upgrades, as well as police, fire, and computer equipment, while property tax rates increased by less than one percent on average per year, according to the study.

For more on the eCities study, go to http://umdilabs.com/ecities.

Local communities that participated in the project received benchmarking reports showing their performance at creating inviting business environments and encouraging entrepreneurial growth. The focus of the project is to learn and share community success stories to attract entrepreneurial development and create business growth.

Understanding these success stories and utilizing these concepts across Michigan will have a positive impact on the state’s economic future, according to iLabs.

– Jim Newell