Economic Development

The Community Foundation for Oceana County was selected by the Council of Michigan Foundations (CMF) to participate in the Rural Economic Development Cohort initiative. Assessing community needs throughout Oceana County is part of the Community Foundation’s 3 year strategic plan. The purpose of this initiative is to:

  • build community leadership to support economic development;
  • assist community foundations to engage with other local actors working on economic development;
  • complete a community assessment; and,
  • receive expert guidance to turn results into action

The Foundation selected the Shelby area to conduct the first assessment and recruited a team of community leaders to gain knowledge around economic development activities, conduct the assessment and build relationships with state economic development funders. On August 29, 2018 a community assessment was conducted where a cross-section of community leaders and residents shared their thoughts, feelings and aspirations about the Shelby area. A second community assessment was conducted by a similar process in the Pentwater area in June of 2019, as led by the Pentwater Vision Team.

In collaboration with the Village of Hesperia, the Right Place, and the Oceana County Economic Alliance, the Foundation is thrilled to begin a community assessment of Hesperia. The assessment begins August 18, 2021 with a series of focus groups in the Hesperia Library at 80 S. Division Street. At the end of the day, the Village is holding a town hall at the Hesperia Community Schools’ Cafeteria. Everyone is invited to participate in the town hall to discuss Hesperia’s future. To learn more, check out our Town Hall flyer and Focus Group infographic.

As a product of these assessments, consultants from the Community Economic Development Association of Michigan (CEDAM), produced comprehensive reports after receiving, summarizing and analyzing community feedback.
Shelby Area full report – Click here
Shelby Area summary report – Click here
Pentwater Area full report – Click here
Greater Pentwater Area summary report – Click here


  1. HOUSING: The Village has a high renter vs homeowner rate, and many of the rental properties are substandard. The affordable single family homes that are available, which are very few, are in need of repair.
  2. DOWNTOWN: The downtown is not “coherent”. The business mix is not conducive to attracting customers, quality of facades is spotty, and some buildings are in need of total renovation (especially in the rear of the building). The streetscape needs to be updated and beautified.
  3. QUALITY JOBS: The area is predominantly agricultural and there is not a diverse business mix. Many of the existing jobs are low paying.
  4. INCLUSIVE COMMUNITY: The Hispanic community is not represented in village government. Across the broader community, there appears to be some fear or lack of understanding of the value of sharing and learning cross-cultures.


  1. HOUSING: There is not enough year round housing that is affordable for young families, to support workforce growth or for seniors to age in place (no transitional housing).  The Village housing stock is more of a rental community than a family community.
  2. SHORT SEASONAL ECONOMY: Downtown businesses are more geared to visitors thereby leaving a void of needed goods and services desired by year-round residents. The short season also makes business attraction and investment difficult.
  3. COLLABORATION:  Bringing resources (service groups, organizations and public entities) together would yield better collective planning and results.
  4. INTERNET: Need affordable, reliable high-speed internet access, also providing new opportunities for people of all ages to work from home.


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