The latest plan presented on development of Escanaba's north shore area seems to be something the city and its residents can get behind.
The plan was presented earlier this week at a special meeting of the Escanaba City Council and Escanaba Planning Commission. The North Shore Redevelopment Master Plan, as it stands so far, was presented by John Iacoangeli, a representative of the engineering firm of Beckett and Raeder of Ann Arbor. In a nutshell, the plan looks at developing the north shore from the municipal dock to the North Shore Boat Launch.
In our opinion, this plan has merit because it focuses on the realities that exist in that area and offers practical ideas for making the area better. The best part of the plan is it takes into account the vast amount of the north shore area is not owned by the city - it is owned by private companies which have operated thriving businesses there for a considerable period of time. Other plans involving this area of the city in the past seemed to have brushed this very important fact aside.
The current plan works with businesses that already exist on the north shore. The beauty of this plan is it recognizes just how valuable these companies are to the area's economy. The top priority of the plan is to make it possible for these businesses to expand and to bring in new development to the area. Zoning changes and tax incentives are just some of the ways the plan indicates this could be accomplished.
Such expansion and development would bring something the area desperately needs - jobs.
In the future, the plan suggests developing retail and residential areas there if the local industrial picture changes. This shows the plan also has the foresight to look at the long term, as well as the short.
Some of the plans that have been developed for the city of Escanaba over the past two decades have not been worth the paper they were written on. The North Shore Redevelopment Master Plan, however, seem to have promise.
We suggest, however, the city fathers carefully consider who will oversee the development process. Even the best of plans can turn sour with the wrong person or group at the helm. Whoever ends up leading the charge should not only have knowledge and common sense, but an unselfish desire to make the city of Escanaba a better place for everyone.