For some undefined reason after the event, I began to contemplate seriously about what “Celebrate Coopersville” really stands for and why. It’s obvious that many of us who work for the City of Coopersville have a rather unique view of the city. Yes, we’re responsible for roads, we’re responsible for water and sewer, we’re responsible for community policing, we’re responsible for recreation programs, and we’re responsible for economic development, planning, and many, many more services. We see it from a perspective that involves citizens and business owners but at the end of the day, the city staff is responsible for infrastructure that allows the rest of the community to function. As an example, roads with two feet of snow covering them can serious hinder transportation requirements.
But our unique perspective allows us to witness many other elements that truly is the “glue” which binds everything together into one cohesive community. We have many volunteers that maintain our beautiful landscapes from the Roundabout to Perennial Park. We have volunteers that spread mulch downtown in the spring, saving the DDA significant costs. Rotary picks up trash along the roadways at certain times of the year for beautification. The many, many coaches and other volunteers who are critical to the success of our recreation department’s varied programs. The volunteers who ultimately determine the aesthetics and feel of our community, such as the Planning Commission, the Downtown Development Authority Board, the Recreation Board, the Zoning Board of Appeals, and the countless other volunteers that assist with Del Shannon Days, the Outhouse 500, the Chili Cook-off, Miss Coopersville, the Historical Museum Board, Christmas Parade, etc. The list can literally go on and on.
Thus back to the second paragraph. What does Celebrate Coopersville really mean? For me, it’s something I haven’t really experienced in my earlier life. My family moved often when I was young from California to Michigan, back to California and finally back to the lakeshore near North Muskegon. My sense of community was limited (and even foreign to me) to a certain degree of definition. But Coopersville demonstrates year after year that “community” is much more than a word: it is a way of life; it’s the human glue that binds the community and brings a unique lifestyle that is different from other cities. Not better, for that would be presumptuous and alienating, but it is still unique nevertheless. The blending of individuals with diverse backgrounds and skills creates a special sense of place that anyone who spends enough time here affectionately calls it home.
I have met many people that live in the surrounding townships that call Coopersville their home. They shop, they bank they visit their doctor, lawyer, and insurance agent all in Coopersville. There are many business owners that live elsewhere but ALWAYS attend Coopersville events. Why? Because Coopersville is special, just ask them. I have. They tell me that there is a “can do” attitude here and people come together to make the improbable happen. Think about this next time you travel through the roundabout. When you’re downtown on Main Street, look up at the clock tower. Slow down on Ironwood and visually savor the flowers under the Coopersville sign; count the number of businesses that sponsor recreation next time you’re visiting Vets Park during a softball game.
Celebrate Coopersville? Absolutely! Everyday!
Monday night at 6:00 PM we will have a Budget Workshop prior to the council meeting. Our discussion will focus on more of the details, especially the larger capital equipment expenditures and many of the road maintenance projects. Draft A has us spending in the red over $500,000. We have a fund balance to support it but our job as policy makers and budget engineers is to make decisions on the needs of today in context of the financial future of the city.
As always, I wish all of you an enjoyable and safe weekend. Life is short, as they say, and our obligation as beings of awareness is to live it each day, drinking in the beauty as well as the bitterness, if it so happens to get in the way. You got to admit that life can be a lot of fun.
Water Project Phase I
City Treasurer Keri Rogers and I have met with our bond attorney and have given him a series of tasks as his homework assignment. One of the series of tasks is to analyze what the city’s obligation for a $9.6 million bond and a scaled down version of the Water Project – Phase I, which is closer to $5 million would be for 30 and 40 years. The “how” in which we would pay for the bond is still under discussion and, fortunately for the city, we have a couple of options available for us to consider. Once those numbers are in, I will schedule a workshop to study those options open to us and how best to proceed.
WWTP Project Phase II
I believe we are close to making a recommendation to council as to what is the best route, in terms of policy and practice, to accommodate the growth that CDF and Fairlife are experiencing. There are still interested parties coming to the “party” wanting to participate in this project. Staff and I will evaluate as necessitated. As always, I will keep Council and the Utility Advisory Committee (UAC) updated as more information becomes available.
The arrival of our Assistant City Manager Jonathan Seyferth has allowed more attention and time to revise the City’s Master Plan (Comprehensive Plan). I would like to begin exercises in strategic planning from the City Council as to how we want to control the city’s future. Yes, the Planning Commission does extensive work and drafts the Master Plan, and will perform professionally in that task. But the City Council must take action on the approval/disapproval of that plan. According to the ICMA (International City/County Management Association) and Gerald L. Gordon PHD, strategic planning is:
“…a means of understanding change, forecasting change, and setting a course of action to manage the expected implications of change. Even in the most negative situations in the life of a community, strategic planning is a positive means of moving forward.”
City Council must begin a conversation of where you want the community to grow and what our future will look like in the next five, ten, and twenty-five years. More information will come to you in the next few months.