Column: Meeting on old jail site development well attended

ESCANABA — March 8 the Escanaba City Council hosted a special meeting for the public to get a first-hand look at proposals from four developmental teams looking to use the old Delta County jail and former chamber commerce property as a blank canvass to paint their vision of the latest addition to Escanaba’s lakefront. In my humble opinion all of the proposals have some very positive economic impacts on the area’s future. Everyone will have a favorite proposal they would like to see move forward and become a reality. Delta County and the city of Escanaba could benefit from any of the projects and I would like to see more than one of them happen. Who wouldn’t like more business expansion, more hospitality places to support tourism and luxury living spaces. They are all in high demand. As impressed as I was with the developers presentations, I was very excited to see the large turnout from the public to better understand the projects. The live audience was so large a satellite section needed to be set up in the vestibule for people to sit and watch the meeting on TV. There was also a large online viewing audience. Regardless which proposal is selected by our elected city officials, I hope we all understand that it may not be perfect, but will be very good. It could be a starting point for additional development of housing, tourism, small business expansion and job creation our Citizens described in the 2016 City of Escanaba Master Plan. We may differing opinions on how to start this journey, but I feel we all know we need to move forward. Our mayor made an important announcement at the meeting that many us could have over looked toward the end of the session. Mr. Ammel reviewed the many board openings the City of Escanaba has right now. Many of our municipalities and service groups need energetic new people to join their group. Adding new people will bring new ideas and view points that help all of our teams be more successful.

The last two years have been very difficult to get involved with new groups as we were asked to social distance and attend meetings remotely. We are seeing life get back to some kind of new normal as we have started 2022. It is time to get involved and making a difference, even if it is very small it will benefit the larger group.

There are many opportunities to help out, if not now, when? Everyone is busy, but make getting involved this year a priority for you. We will all be better for your involvement!

I had an opportunity to join a meeting with a service club this past week as they are bringing on new members and highlighting whatever they can do to make a positive difference in our community. I have known the organization for a long time, as I played Little League and Babe Ruth League Baseball for the Kiwanis Club. I always appreciated their sponsorship as young man and have grown to realize all of the effort organizations like the Kiwanis puts forth to make a difference. The Kiwanis Club will be celebrating their 100th anniversary at Hereford & Hops on March 16 from 5 to 7 p.m. Stop by and let them know how much you appreciate what the organization has done over the years.

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Ed Legault is Delta County Economic Development Alliance executive director.


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