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ESCANABA – On March 8, the Escanaba City Council hosted a special meeting for the public to get a first-hand look at proposals from four development teams seeking to use the former Delta County Jail and the former chamber commerce property as a blank canvas to paint their vision of Escanaba’s latest lakeside addition. In my humble opinion, all the proposals have very positive economic impacts on the future of the region. Everyone will have a favorite proposal that they would like to see move forward and become a reality. Delta County and the City of Escanaba could benefit from any of these projects and I would love to see more than one come to fruition. Who wouldn’t love more commercial expansion, more hospitality venues to support tourism and luxury living spaces. They are all in high demand. As impressed as I was with the developer presentations, I was very excited to see the great audience participation to better understand the projects. The live audience was so large that a satellite section had to be set up in the lobby for people to sit and watch the meeting on television. There was also a large audience of viewers online. Whatever proposal our elected municipal officials choose, I hope we all understand that it may not be perfect, but it will be very good. This could be a starting point for further development in housing, tourism, small business expansion and job creation that our citizens outlined in the 2016 Escanaba City Master Plan. We may have different opinions on how to start this journey, but I think we all know we have to move on. Our mayor made an important announcement at the meeting that many of us might have overlooked towards the end of the session. Mr. Ammel reviewed the many openings on the Escanaba Town Board at this time. Many of our municipalities and service groups need energetic new people to join their group. Adding new people will bring new ideas and perspectives that will help all of our teams be more successful.

The past two years have been very difficult to get involved with new groups as we have been asked to socially distance and attend meetings remotely. We see life returning to a kind of new normal as we started 2022. It’s time to get involved and make a difference, even if it’s very small, it will benefit the larger group.

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

I had the opportunity to participate in a meeting with a service club last week as they recruit new members and highlight all they can do to make a positive difference in our community. I have known the organization for a long time, having played in Little League and Babe Ruth League Baseball for the Kiwanis club. I always appreciated their sponsorship as a young man and grew to appreciate all the efforts that organizations like Kiwanis made to make a difference. The Kiwanis Club will celebrate its 100th anniversary at Hereford & Hops on March 16 from 5-7 p.m. Come tell them how much you appreciate what the organization has done over the years.

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Ed Legault is Executive Director of the Delta County Economic Development Alliance.

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