Published at PO Box 96 124 W. St. Clair Romeo, MI 48065. Phone: (586)752-3524 Fax: (586)752-0548
Updated Wednesday, May 15, 2013 at 3 PM EST
|Home||Sports||Community||What's Happening||Classifieds||News Summary|
|DOROTHY MOLLON||EDWIN WERDERMAN|
|JOHN PELCZER||LORRAINE OSTEN-GREENIA|
|MARILYN KRIEWALL||MARISSA BOLLINI|
|MARJORIE RENNY||MAUREEN NASIEROWSKI|
|PAUL UERLING||RUTH McCLEARY|
|Browse Full Text...|
Friday, 2 pm
Inserts Friday, Noon
Editorial Monday, Noon
Service Directory Display Monday, 2 pm
Service Directory Liners Monday, 3 pm
Classified Liners All Holiday Deadlines are One Full Workday Earlier
You are Viewing an Archived IssuePosted: 02/04/09
Consortium learns about
preparing for movies
by CHRIS GRAYWhen Hollywood comes knocking, it pays to be ready.
Observer Staff Writer
That's the message representatives from local municipalities, businesses and organizations took away from a presentation on how to prepare the community for potential filmmakers coming to the area.
The group met for the first Downtown Consortium meeting of the year on Jan. 29. The consortium is hosted by the Romeo Downtown Development Authority (DDA) and is made up of representatives from the Village of Romeo, Bruce and Washington townships, the Greater Romeo-Washington Chamber of Commerce, the Romeo Historical Society, the Romeo Merchants, Restaurants and Professionals (MRP) Association and others.
The group was formed to help implement the Romeo Downtown Blueprint 2006 document, a plan developed by Hyatt Palma consultants that gives suggestions and ideas on how to further improve the Romeo area.
At this particular meeting, the consortium jumped on the buzz circulating through Michigan about the movie industry's sudden urge to film in the state due to lucrative tax incentives passed in April of 2008. The Michigan Film Incentive allows for up to 42 percent of a production company's expenses to be reimbursed.
The presentation wasn't simply a showing of hope that the next big film will be shot in Romeo. DDA Coordinator Janine Saputo said the Romeo area has been approached four times by filmmakers, each confirmed by the Michigan Film Office.
"I urge you to consider how we should handle this," she said. "They have reached out to us already, I think the potential is there. Get (past) the glitz and glamour, it's jobs, job training and economic development."
John-Paul Rea, associate planner from the Macomb County Planning and Economic Development, provided the consortium with a list of resources available to them as well as a plethora of information to consider.
Rea said it's a lot of preparation for the communities, but reassured there are opportunities out there.
"Ultimately, should your community decide and take hold of some of this opportunity, there are steps that need to be taken," he said.
During the presentation, Rea explained when a film production comes to a town they want everything done as quickly as possible, whether it's gaining permits to access property or having the right people to contact at a moment's notice.
"The industry is fast-paced, they're not going to wait around and go through the bureaucratic way," he said. "They want quick answers and quick decisions, and they want to know for certain that if they shoot in your community that you are alongside them."
He said there are other issues the community should consider when a production comes in, such as how current ordinances would impact the production crew, such as parking semitrucks on a major street. Some communities have even gone as far as developing film ordinances.
"Issues that most often require permitting are parking, street closures, use of public facilities and public safety," he said. "Production companies are responsible for restoration and clean-up, no ifs ands or buts about it."
He also spoke of impact statutes, which spell out restitutions or conditions that would cause the community to retract a permit from the production crews should they not follow those statutes.
No contact people have been officially established in the local communities yet, though DDA Chairperson Robert Lipka said the DDA would want to help facilitate getting a film committee together.
"We need to identify who the group is, who is the point person of contact and is there a general willingness in the overall community and townships," he said.
Bruce Township Treasurer Deborah Obrecht said her township is interested in participating, and has already been in contact with the City of Rochester to try and establish a Web site like they have that would help filmmakers.
"It's a great marketing tool," she said. "They said they would offer the software to us."
Village Clerk Marian McLaughlin said contact people would have to depend on where a production crew was filming, but said it would be wise to have permits and ordinances as similar as possible between the communities.
Village President Paul Reiz agreed.
"I think a tri-community approach makes a whole lot of sense," he said. "Having uniform ordinances as a package for some one-stop shopping."
Joel Groomes, the newest member of the DDA, said his background in film and TV has shown production companies will move swiftly, so the community should be prepared.