Letters

Letters 08-03-2015

Real Brownfields Deserve Dollars I read with interest the story on Brownfield development dollars in the July 20 issue. I applaud Dan Lathrop and other county commissioners who voted “No” on the Randolph Street project...

Hopping Mad Carlin Smith is hopping mad (“Will You Get Mad With Me?” 7-20-15). Somebody filed a fraudulent return using his identity, and he’s not alone. The AP estimates the government “pays more than $5 billion annually in fraudulent tax refunds.” Well, many of us have been hopping mad for years. This is because the number one tool Congress has used to fix this problem has been to cut the IRS budget –by $1.2 billion in the last 5 years...

Just Grumbling, No Solutions Mark Pontoni’s grumblings [recent Northern Express column] tell us much about him and virtually nothing about those he chooses to denigrate. We do learn that Pontoni may be the perfect political candidate. He’s arrogant, opinionated and obviously dimwitted...

A Racist Symbol I have to respond to Gordon Lee Dean’s letter claiming that the confederate battle flag is just a symbol of southern heritage and should not be banned from state displays. The heritage it represents was the treasonous effort to continue slavery by seceding from a democratic nation unwilling to maintain such a consummate evil...

Not So Thanks I would like to thank the individual who ran into and knocked over my Triumph motorcycle while it was parked at Lowe’s in TC on Friday the 24th. The $3,000 worth of damage was greatly appreciated. The big dent in the gas tank under the completely destroyed chrome badge was an especially nice touch...

Home · Articles · News · Random Thoughts · Planting a seed
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Planting a seed

Robert Downes - May 19th, 2008
Planting a Seed
Can ordinary citizens take charge of Northern Michigan’s destiny and help shape what our region will look like over the next 20 to 50 years?
That’s the dream of the folks behind the Grand Vision, a series of workshops which has been attracting visionary citizens from six counties over the past few months to share their ideas on the future of Northern Michigan.
Starting in Grand Traverse County, where 1,500 participants shared their ideas on land use and transportation alternatives, the Grand Vision has expanded to Kalkaska, Leelanau, Antrim, Benzie and Wexford counties, with 109 governmental participating.
The two-year Grand Vision study is being funded by the federal government. It is administered locally by TC-TALUS (the Traverse City - Transportation And Land Use Study) for Grand Traverse County and by the Northern Michigan Council of Governments for the outlying counties.
In addition to having the enthusiastic support of local planning and zoning officials, the Grand Vision has signed on some of the region’s major movers-and-shakers. Marsha Smith, the executive director of Rotary Charities, for instance, is chair of the project’s public involvement committee.
Personally, I’d love to see a light rail system in Traverse City, running along the bay and out to the malls and down Airport Road and back. Others would like to see urban growth boundaries, more bike paths, protection of the Boardman River Valley, more parks and greenways, limits on building heights and such. Guess we should go put our two cents in at one of the meetings... Who knows? Our vision of the future could someday come to pass.
One question, however: How do you make those great ideas stick?
When Dick Cheney was reproached on the five-year anniversary of the Iraq war for his disastrous ideas that had wreaked so much death, carnage and expense, his response was, “So?” How do the people behind the Grand Vision plan to avoid the same response from developers who may not respect their ideas?
How will they keep the Grand Vision from being the equivalent of a “non-binding resolution“?
Backers of the project make no guarantees, but they point out that there is $2 million in federal funding to help implement a portion of the Grand Vision when the study is completed. There’s also a “tool kit” to help guide local communities bring the Grand Vision’s recommendations to life. And it’s also felt that this sort of large-scale, collaborative planning will make it easier to obtain state and federal grants.
Land use and transportation specialists on the Mead & Hunt team which is guiding the project also point to successful planning sessions in southern California; Portland, Oregon; and southern Louisiana.
So, think of the Grand Vision as planting a seed and growing our future in a positive direction.
What’s on your wish list for the region? The Grand Vision would like to hear from you, with an invitation to join an upcoming workshop, including those planned for Antrim and Wexford counties (May 27) and Benzie (May 28). You can learn more about the project at www.thegrandvision.org
 
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