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Grand Vision: Time to Bring It HomePrint

Thriving Communities | May 19, 2010 | By Jim MacInnes

Thousands of people who participated in the Grand Vision strongly support making towns in northwest Lower Michigan walkable and bikeable. Photo Credit: BATA

In the fall of 2008, I joined 12,000 of my neighbors across six counties and filled out The Grand Vision Scorecard to develop a vision for the future. Last Monday evening, I attended the Grand Vision Citizen Action Expo at the Hagerty Center to find out what I can do to make that vision a reality. The big turnout, the enthusiasm in the room, and even the strong press coverage were very exciting.

I’m excited because I am a big fan of the Grand Vision and believe that a healthy region, like a healthy business, needs a game plan for what it wants to be.

At Crystal Mountain Resort and Spa we have worked hard to develop a strategy for keeping our business prosperous. We built that vision around the core principles of economic and environmental sustainability.

The people of northwest Michigan have essentially done the same thing with The Grand Vision. Together, we developed a vision, and it’s built upon a common understanding that it makes sense to grow in a way that protects what makes this place so special.

It’s a vision we created together around a powerful set of principles: we need to grow economic activity and housing in our existing cities and villages, and connect these towns with an integrated transportation system that expands public transit, walking, and biking. And we need to push this vision forward with special consideration to use energy wisely, protect natural resources, and grow our farm economy.

My support for the Grand Vision is not just philosophical, it’s practical. Here’s why: At Crystal Mountain, our most important resources are the hundreds of people who work here. These people live in the region. They have homes and families. They need reliable transportation to get around. They buy food and supplies from local businesses. They want to enjoy the natural resources. They want to plan for their children’s future.

Pushing the Grand Vision forward helps to make sure our staff members and their families have choices for these basic life necessities. Ultimately, the Grand Vision strengthens the economy and keeps our region such a terrific place to live. That’s important to me.

That’s important to Crystal people. That’s important to all of us. It’s up to all of us to seize this important moment and do our part to make the Grand Vision a reality in our communities.

At last Monday’s Expo at the Hagerty Center, we took another important step: About 400 people left that evening firmly committed to doing their part in their own county (the Vision covers Antrim, Benzie, Grand Traverse, Kalkaska, Leelanau, and Wexford) to organize similar “expos. “

It’s time to bring The Grand Vision home to our own communities, and make it a reality, literally town by town, village by village, and township by township. I hope you will join us.

You can find out more at www.thegrandvision.org.

(This article first appeared in the Traverse City Record-Eagle and is used by permission of the author. Jim MacInnes is chief executive officer and president of Crystal Mountain Resort in Thompsonville. He has long been involved in energy issues and serves on the state’s wind energy council.)