Economic Development

Recognizing that it is of vital importance that a community have places of for people to work as well as to live and play, the City of Dexter is committed to fostering an atmosphere that is beneficial towards economic development.  We use a wide variety of tools to accomplish this goal, including master planning, an economic development corporation, industrial facilities tax exemptions, and capital improvement planning.  By exploring the links to the left, you can discover why this is such a great place to locate your business activities.

Planning for Sustained Economic Development

In the late 1980s, the Village of Dexter developed the Dexter Business and Research Park (DBRP), a 132-acre corporate campus style business park.  The goal of this investment was to promote job creation and provide a solid tax base within the Village of Dexter.  DPRP is home to approximately 30 thriving manufacturing and research and development facilities.

By 2007/2008 the Village of Dexter, like the nation was in the grips of a great recession.  Unemployment was upwards of 9%. The Village Council decide that creating recreational opportunities and access to the river were two key strategies that would make Dexter a destination.  It was also during this time that Council determined that retention of existing businesses was the key to surviving the recession.   In response, the Village of Dexter Economic Advancement Program (EAP) and the Framework Plan for Economic Preparedness (FPEP) were developed.

The purpose of the EAP and FPEP was two-fold; first, to establish a long term economic enhancement strategy for the City (then Village), and second to better prepare the community to work with businesses wanting to expand or locate in Dexter.  Together with Ann Arbor SPARK, Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) and the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD), the City conducts regular business retention visits and organizes at least one business summit every year.

The City has a well deserved reputation as a destination community, due in part to investments in quality of life projects, such as Mill Creek Park and the Border-to-Border Trail, not to mention our historic downtown.
Never one to rest on their laurels, in 2017 city leaders sought answers to a variety of questions: 
  • What impact did/does cityhood have on our economic development efforts?
  • Where do we go from here?
  • How big does Dexter need/want to be?
  • How do we get access to higher speed internet, a spart of our basic infrastructure?
  • Should we expand the Dexter Business and Research Park, or do we go in a different direction?
  • Where is our workforce located?
  • What does the economic future of Dexter look like?
  • What do we want economic development in Dexter to focus on? Job creation? Tax base generation? Recreational/Eco Tourism?

To answer those questions the City developed an Economic Development Strategic Plan.  The Plan contains findings and recommendations derived from the analysis and itneractions with city leaders, businesses, stakeholders and staff.  The Plan may be access by clicking the following link:

Economic Development Plan for the City of Dexter  

Small Business Development Center (SBDC)

Thinking of starting your dream business?  The first step is to contact the Michigan Small Business Development Center (SBDC).  The Michigan Small Business Development Center provides counseling, business education; information based planning and technology commercialization services to Michigan’s new business ventures, existing small businesses, growing businesses and innovators.  The Michigan SBDC has eleven offices statewide, serving all of Michigan’s 83 counties. Entrepreneurs and small business owners may access the services of their nearest Michigan SBDC by visiting

The Greater Washtenaw Region SBDC is located at the Washtenaw Community College.  Contact Ron Stevens (734) 477-8764 or for more information.


The University of Michigan, Michigan Works! Southeast and Washtenaw County have partnered once again for Summer19 ( The ten-week summer employment and mentorship program, Summer19 pairs local businesses with Washtenaw County youth (ages 16-24) to provide on-the-job training that sets the stage for life-long careers, opens doors to new industries, and provides mentorship critical to building professional networks.

Summer19 serves as the critical “stepping stone” youth need to gain real-life experience and mentorship to know the ins and outs of applying for a job, interviewing and successfully completing a 10 week summer job.  As part of Summer19, youth complete a “Soft Skills Academy” inclusive of training in communication, conflict resolution, professionalism and leadership development – all of which prepare Summer19 youth employees to make positive contributions to our local community of businesses.


Businesses interested in participating in Summer19 must commit to:

  • attend the Employer Orientation (April 3) and Match-Day Job Fair (May 22)
  • ongoing mentoring of youth employees during the employment period (June 17-Aug. 23)
  • paying a youth employee an hourly wage of either $10/hour or $12/hour based on completion of a high school degreeor equivalent (total employer cost is approximately $2,000-$2,400/youth employee based on a 20-hour work week)

An employee coach will be available throughout Summer19 to provide HR, payment and youth training support. To become a Summer19 Employer, signup at


Youth interested in Summer19 must commit to:

  • attend the Youth and Family Orientation (April 17) and Match Day Job Fair (May 22)
  • attend a multi-session “Soft Skills Academy” prior to employment (April 23 to May 30)
  • complete 10 weeks of employment (June 17-Aug 23)  for a minimum of 20 hours per week at $10/hour or $12/hour based on completion of a high school degree or equivalent.

Youth and employer applications open Jan. 14, 2019. To learn more, visit:

For questions, interested businesses and youth can contact: