Happy New Year! While we’re just a few days into 2018, I hope your year is off to a great start. It’s the time when many of us make new years resolutions. We’re going to exercise more, be kinder to people, save more money, lose weight and spend more time with family and friends. Whatever you have “resolved” to do differently, I wish you the best of luck. Change is hard; so let’s help each other meet our goals.
Speaking of helping each other, I want to ask you to consider something else; and that is to commit to “being more informed in 2018”. Why is this important? Simply put: it makes you a stronger advocate for issues that are important to you. And it can help you be a stronger, more effective ambassador for the Flint area.
We all know that over many years, Flint gained a negative image in some respects. But that’s slowly changing as the region continues to show signs of a rebound. Neighborhoods are working together with businesses to rebuild together through food, faith, art and entrepreneurism. In addition to the businesses that not only survived the Flint water crisis but also are thriving, we’ve seen companies open or expand their operations and create new jobs. Think about investment projects from Lear Corp., Phoenix Investors and Huntington Bank in Flint, Laird and CNXMotion in Grand Blanc, a new mixed-use complex in Fenton, and numerous coffee shops and restaurants, among others. Also key to the revitalization is improving our education system, and we’re starting to tackle this issue one step at a time. Important strides are being made to make our local education system better starting with Educare and Cummings Early Childhood Education Center in partnership with The University of Michigan-Flint. There’s also the Crim Foundation’s community education program and YouthQuest, the Flint & Genesee Chamber’s afterschool program.
The resurgence of Downtown Flint continues with the newly restored Capitol Theatre, the Ferris Wheel, Dryden building, Flint River Restoration project, the award-winning Flint Farmers’ Market, new stores, restaurants, arts and culture. This year, development work will continue on the Mott Culinary Arts Institute and a mixed-income housing complex.
The bottom line: there are a lot of great things happening in Flint and Genesee County communities. I’m asking that you stay informed through the many objective voices that share not only the challenges that we have — and there are many – but importantly, how some of these challenges are being solved, and the remarkable, positive changes that are occurring making the region a place where people choose to be.
Tim Herman is the CEO of the Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce