News from Sarah Lucas and Lake Superior Community Partnership, sharing the U.P. Perspective:
The last couple years have given a bad name to new year’s forecasts, upending all sorts of predictions for what’s to come in the year ahead. So, while no one claims to have a crystal ball about what the world has in store for us in 2022, we can tell you what’s on deck for the LSCP.
2022 will be a big year for the LSCP. We’re growing our team and our programming to build strong foundations for business and community investment. Our staff will continue to provide the business services that our community has come to depend on, while also helping to expand and support community-based economic development efforts, enhance communications and marketing, and support initiatives that will build opportunities for the region’s economic development infrastructure, its outdoor recreation economy, housing, and childcare.
One exciting new venture is our upcoming partnership with the City of Ishpeming. We’ll be providing communications support to foster community dialogue in Ishpeming, helping to coordinate efforts around neighborhood improvement and blight remediation, and working to move the City towards Redevelopment Ready Community certification, which opens up opportunities and funding for economic development. This extensive “shared service” model is a new approach for both the LSCP and the City of Ishpeming, and we’re excited about working together with them towards their community’s economic priorities.
Another focus area for the LSCP in 2022 is the work happening at Sawyer International – one of our region’s most important economic development assets. The airport and Marquette County are working on plans for improvements to address everything from the terminal, to marketing, to transportation to and from the airport, and the LSCP looks forward to supporting and aligning those activities with the business community.
Meanwhile, our staff will remain engaged in regional solutions to big issues that affect our businesses and workforce, like child care and housing. The LSCP is playing an important role in helping to coordinate partners and solutions to those needs. As a couple examples, this week we’re hosting a U.P.-wide panel discussion on employer-based solutions to childcare, and we continue to coordinate and support the work of the Marquette County Intergovernmental Housing Task Force.
We’ll also continue to offer the networking events that are so important for connections between businesses and our community, through events like our Annual Celebration planned for March, regular Business After Hours, our annual golf outing, and new educational events and webinars.
Statewide, there’s a lot coming up: with Governor Whitmer’s directive last week creating a long-awaited Office of Rural Development, the LSCP will be at the table as this new office and its priorities take shape. And, of course, there’s still billions of dollars in the state’s coffers that have yet to be allocated. Throughout 2022, we’ll continue working with our partners to make sure that rural priorities are addressed by those dollars, and that they can support some of the initiatives and projects taking root here in Marquette County and throughout the U.P.
And last but definitely not least, we’ll be moving from our long-time offices on Front Street to new space downtown, co-locating with other economic development organizations. It will be a big change for the LSCP, but it will also be a big stride towards closer collaboration with our regional partners.
As always, there are a lot of unknowns about what’s to come, but at the LSCP, there’s a lot to look forward to and a lot of opportunity for our region. Here’s to the new year, and wishing our community all the best in 2022.