The Spirit of Grand Rapids - Part 2!
August 13th, 2008An article was published in the August 5, 2008 issue of Forbes Magazine on America's Top 10 Fastest Dying Cities one of which was Detroit. I know that this will be hard for some to swallow in West Michigan BUT I truly believe that Detroit will come back after tough going for the past several decades. I know, I know, I know . . . this has been a long and hard traveled road and despite a time honored tradition of "Detroit Bashing" which gets really tiring, it is a city rich with culture, economic pockets of hope and now a number of community and business leaders banding together to get the city back on its feet! My counterpart in Detroit, Mariam Noland is helping to lead the charge in one of these efforts. Regional efforts - working together - burying the proverbial hatchet - and bypassing the politics are all essential.
Thus this brings me to the jumping off point for "Part Two" of my previous post re: an article I wrote back in May of 1989 for the Grand Rapids Magazine entitled, "The Spirit of Grand Rapids: What's the Future?", I would like to comment on the not so rosy picture scenario which is appropriate for Grand Rapidians and West Michiganians to consider and avoid!
As I wrote: "In the next scenario, the image of 2025 takes a more somber tone. Dissension between various groups continues to grow; social causes are pitted against economic development; municipalities are closing ranks; private sector working with public sector is an out-moded concept.
The promise of prosperity predicted in 1989 fizzled at the close of the 1990's. The business climate is mediocre at best, and development is stymied. Philanthropic efforts are having a difficult time keeping up with the demands of more complex issues and fragmentation of services.
Coordination is non-existent as duplication caves away at operating budgets of key organizations."
Well we are not on that track moving toward 2025 . . . but it depends on people and an open and embracing attitude! My question in 1989 was and still is in 2008, "How do we keep this momentum [the positive momentum that is] alive and keep the spirit of our great community focused on the care and concern which is reflected today?"
The challenge and the call to action rests with all of us. "Working with many others who carry the spark of hope just as you do, you will strengthen the community of 2025 and continue its capacity for caring." AND continue the capacity to grow jobs, resources, and point to a vibrancy that is hard to beat.
2025 - - - - we are ready to grow as a metro area, as a region and YES as the strong state of Michigan.
And consider this if your head is aching with all this glee. I was never a cheerleader but I always have been an optimist and problem solver - so let's move forward!