"History is a wonderful thing, if only it was true"

Monday, October 12, 2009

Grand Vision

In response to Leelanau Enterprise "County Board rejects Grand Vision"

Open letter :

To the Editor
I am writing with some observations and thoughts related to the story headlined “Vision not so ‘Grand”” First off, I was in attendance at the meeting, as a board member of the Grand Traverse Regional Community Foundation, but stepped out after the presentation was made, and did not observe directly the later activities.

I’m writing merely in response to the story as presented in the Enterprise. Were a majority of the board “not impressed” or were they just lacking more information?

Commissioner Watkoski : “… I found it focusing less on transportation issues and more on issues like land use and housing.” I attended as many visioning sessions as practicable, and found, if anything, there was too much focus on transportation. Granted, the project was working with highway funds, but the charge was to come up with a long term plan, and where people are and where they want to go is your base data for transportation. Let’s not build bridges to nowhere.

Commissioner Schmuckle : “Your group is anti-growth…” I’ve never found this to be the case, and as a matter of fact, a slogan of the Grand Vision project is “Growth Happens”

Commissioner’s Tonneberger and Schaub seemed to have the right idea in seeking to table the issue until more information was available

I’ll withhold responses to the public comments, as they seem to have come from a group with pre-conceived notions.

I would further like to note that the Grand Vision has strong support from such groups as the Traverse Bay Chamber of Commerce, and Rotary Charities.

I am a strong proponent of regional cooperation and planning. In the days of horse and buggy, travel was a short distance issue. Today, citizens of Leelanau work in neighboring communities and counties. We are all in this together, and need to think “together.”

Full disclosure: I currently chair the Leelanau EDC, sit on boards of Grand Traverse Community Foundation, Traverse Bay EDC, and the Michigan Land Use Institute.

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