News from Sarah Lucas and Lake Superior Community Partnership, sharing the U.P. Perspective:
As many know, the LSCP and other U.P. partners have long advocated for the creation of the Office of Rural Development, which was established by Governor Whitmer in January. Last week, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development announced that I’ve been appointed to the new office.
Having spent my career working with and championing the causes of rural communities - including Marquette County, through my role as LSCP CEO - I'm excited and honored by this opportunity, and am thrilled to be able to continue to work with rural communities like Marquette County.
As I plan for a transition to this new role, however, I remain committed to the long-term success of the LSCP. I’m excited about the LSCP's team, projects, and opportunities in front of us, and I'm confident that I'm leaving the LSCP in a strong position, with an incredible staff, Board, and partnerships that will make it successful in the future.
In the year that I've been a part of the LSCP, I’ve had the good fortune to be a part of projects that will have a big impact on the region’s economy; and I’m proud of the LSCP’s collaboration, community partnerships, and engagement in long-term economic issues that impact our workforce and growth potential. Among the highlights are an increased emphasis on housing at the LSCP, with its coordination and support of the Intergovernmental Housing Task Force, which has created a structure for collaboration, awareness, and regional solutions. The organization has also championed the cause of childcare, working to coordinate partners that are engaged in solutions. We’re bringing together stakeholders throughout the U.P. to build messaging and communications that speak to audiences within and outside of the region about the economic opportunities in the U.P. We’re recognizing the importance of outdoor recreation to our economy here, and collaborating with recreation partners to support its growth and sustainability. And, in collaboration with the County and business partners, we’ve been working with Sawyer International Airport to support short- and long-term improvements that will create a best-in-class airport.
Organizationally, the LSCP has doubled down on collaboration, which the community will be able to see in 3D in the coming weeks: the LSCP will be joining the region’s economic development agencies in a shared space in downtown Marquette, which will create opportunities to expand on our partnerships and leverage resources.
In addition to the community impact these initiatives bring, for me, they’ve also created close partnerships and relationships with Marquette County leaders from business, local government, nonprofits, schools, health care, and more. I’m honored to have been able to work alongside these dedicated community leaders, and I’m grateful for everything I’ve learned from them – and for their passion and commitment to our region.
I’ll be working with the LSCP through April 15 to ensure that the LSCP’s great work continues smoothly after my departure. And I know it will: the LSCP has a tremendous staff, a dedicated Board, and a long history of effective partnerships that have served the community through all manner of changes over the years. Before I leave, I want to thank you all for your support and partnership over the last year: it’s been a privilege to get to know the region close-up and to work on behalf of its future. I look forward to continuing to work with the LSCP and all its partners in Marquette County.