Changes in Benzie

– Bay Chrysler Jeep Dodge has taken over the former Case & Watson Chrysler dealership in Benzonia. Still in the same location and offering a full line of cars, trucks, SUVs and minivans. Call 231-882-4417.

– Crystal Rentals, Inc. has moved from Benzonia to 11780 Chippewa Hwy.in Bear Lake. Check out their rental properties at www.crystal-vacation.com.

– The Benzie Bus Initiative has been actively working to address the need for public transportation in the county.

A Benzie Bus Authority will be formed this month, which will then seek voter approval for funding, likely in August, to develop and run a countywide public bus system.

The Benzie Bus System would consist of five state-provided buses and a van, all accessible to the general public and people with disabilities. The bus system would replace the very limited bus service now being provided by the Benzie County Council on Aging, which is a leader of this effort. Buses would have links to Traverse City and Manistee.

Benzie's population has increased 31 percent over 10 years.

– The first of several "Enhancement and Development of the Community Economy" events was held in Frankfort recently and brought together business owners, city and village officials, retired residents and representatives from a variety of civic organizations.

The event was co-sponsored by the Frankfort-Elberta Area Chamber of Commerce and the Benzie County MSU Extension Service, to share ideas and ways to improve the area's year around economy.

The key issues of concern are the area's seasonal economy, lack of affordable housing, lack of funds for regional promotion, loss of manufacturing jobs and low paying jobs. Follow-up meetings within the next month or so will be planned based on the information gathered.

– A feasibility study is being conducted to relocate the Crystal Lake Art Center to the former U.S. Coast Guard station, now owned by the city of Frankfort. This would give the Art Center a large space to promote the area's art culture.

– The 7th annual Benzie County Chamber of Commerce Business to Business Expo will be held on Tuesday, April 18 at Crystal Mountain Resort. Free to the public, it will include over 75 area businesses. For more information, contact the chamber at 231-882-5801.

If you have a Benzie business-related announcement, please email Danielle Horvath at dani48@centurytel.net.

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