Letters

Letters 07-25-2016

Remember Bush-Cheney Does anyone remember George W. Bush and Dick Cheney? They were president and vice president a mere eight years ago. Does anyone out there remember the way things were at the end of their duo? It was terrible...

Mass Shootings And Gun Control The largest mass shooting in U.S. history occurred December 29,1890, when 297 Sioux Indians at Wounded Knee in South Dakota were murdered by federal agents and members of the 7th Cavalry who had come to confiscate their firearms “for their own safety and protection.” The slaughter began after the majority of the Sioux had peacefully turned in their firearms...

Families Need Representation When one party dominates the Michigan administration and legislature, half of Michigan families are not represented on the important issues that face our state. When a policy affects the non-voting K-12 students, they too are left out, especially when it comes to graduation requirements...

Raise The Minimum Wage I wanted to offer a different perspective on the issue of raising the minimum wage. The argument that raising the minimum wage will result in job loss is a bogus scare tactic. The need for labor will not change, just the cost of it, which will be passed on to the consumer, as it always has...

Make Cherryland Respect Renewable Cherryland Electric is about to change their net metering policy. In a nutshell, they want to buy the electricity from those of us who produce clean renewable electric at a rate far below the rate they buy electricity from other sources. They believe very few people have an interest in renewable energy...

Settled Science Climate change science is based on the accumulated evidence gained from studying the greenhouse effect for 200 years. The greenhouse effect keeps our planet 50 degrees warmer due to heat-trapping gases in our atmosphere. Basic principles of physics and chemistry dictate that Earth will warm as concentrations of greenhouse gases increase...

Home · Articles · News · Other Opinions · Make the Grand Vision...
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Make the Grand Vision your own

Hans Voss & Doug Luciani - October 13th, 2008
“With public sentiment, nothing can fail. Without it, nothing can succeed.”
Abraham Lincoln said these simple, yet profound words 150 years ago, but they are just as true today – especially right here, right now in northwest lower Michigan.
Citizens from across the area are participating in an historic public process to determine our shared future. It’s called The Grand Vision and it’s the largest, most far-reaching future planning process the region has ever seen.
After four years of planning and preparation, now is the time for you and your neighbors to get involved. It’s easy. All you need to do is grab a Grand Vision “scorecard” and register your views by October 28. The result of this massive public input process will be wide consensus on a blueprint for land use and transportation for the next 50 years.

Out of controversy, comes opportunity
The Grand Vision was born out of an intense dispute over a proposal to build a highway bypass around Traverse City that included a new bridge over the Boardman River.
On one side were the Traverse City Area Chamber of Commerce, the Grand Traverse County Road Commission and others who believed the road and bridge project would alleviate traffic congestion and strengthen the local economy.
On the other side were the Michigan Land Use Institute, the Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council and others who believed the project would harm the Boardman River and create a new corridor for sprawling development that, in turn, would pull more people and development away from our existing towns.
When President Lincoln made his memorable speech in 1858, the nation was on the brink of civil war. While no-one was threatening to take up arms over the Hartman-Hammond bridge, it was one of the most hotly contested and divisive issues the region had ever seen.
Even as we quarreled over a major transportation project without any sem-blance of a long-range plan for growth, we somehow knew that if we had the chance, we could find common ground. That came in 2004, when the opposing sides came together and worked with U.S. Senator Carl Levin and Congressman Dave Camp to direct $3.3 million of federal transportation dollars to launch The Grand Vision.

Collaboration leads
to change
Since then dozens of organizations, businesses and local governments have designed and advanced a process that puts the public’s voice first. Environmental advocates have joined with developers, homebuilders and realtors. Major
employers like Munson Healthcare, Elmer’s, Crystal Mountain, Interlochen Center for the Arts and Northwestern Michigan College are supporting the process and promoting public participation.
Local government officials are also deeply involved. In fact, the Antrim, Benzie, Grand Traverse, Leelanau, Kalkaska, and Wexford county boards are not only lending their leadership to the project they are also helping to pay for it.
It’s important to note that this type of regional collaboration rarely happens in Michigan. That’s sad, because acting as a region makes sense. First of all, our lives reach well beyond our local government borders. Many of us live in one county, work in another, and play in still a third. Acting as a region also saves badly
stretched taxpayer dollars. While we certainly want to be sure our local community is planning for our local future, the bottom line is this: A smart, cost-effective regional growth and transportation strategy fits with how people live.

Pathway to prosperity
With the country’s financial and housing markets teetering on collapse and Michigan’s economy continuing to struggle, there’s no better time to invest in a homegrown strategy for the future. Our local economy is feeling the crunch to be sure, but people continue to come here and create jobs because northwest Michigan remains a great place to live and work.
In today’s talent-driven economy, jobs are increasingly portable and employers choose their locations based on quality of life as much as anything else. College graduates are choosing where they want to live before, not after, launching a career search.
That’s good news for us, because we have so much to offer. Not too many places in America offer the same mix of stunning natural resources, vibrant downtowns, arts and culture, strong schools, and an underlying sense of community like our region.
But to achieve this economically resilient future, we must take care of this place. We need a clear blueprint created not by bureaucrats and planners, but by the people who are personally committed to the future of this place. The Grand Vision is our best chance to create this future.
While the level of support has been unprecedented, there are still naysayers who claim The Grand Vision will not amount to anything, or who say given the state of the economy, this is not the time for bold plans. We’ve listened carefully to their concerns, but we remain convinced that President Lincoln was right– a strategy based on the public’s voice will succeed in the long run.
The Michigan Land Use Institute and the Traverse City Area Chamber of Commerce – along with everyone else involved – are committed to doing what it takes to make sure that The Grand Vision plans are implemented and produce tangible value for generations to come. We will work to make sure state agencies like the Michigan Department of Transportation invest in the transportation strategies that the citizens actually want. We’ll help local government officials adapt their zoning to promote the development citizens actually want. And we’ll continue to rally businesses and citizens to keep the pressure on until elected officials translate the vision into reality.
It’s a once-in-a-generation oppor-tunity. Please, do your part as a citizen of the region and register your voice as part of the Grand Vision.

Doug Luciani is the President and CEO of the Traverse City Area Chamber of Commerce. Hans Voss is the Executive Director of the Michigan Land Use Institute.

 
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