Celebrating a Productive, Impactful Year

Posted by on December 20, 2023

It’s hard to believe that this will be the last LSCP Perspectives Column of 2023. Where did the year go? We’ll have the full results of 2023 to share when we issue our annual report, but I’d like to take some time today to recognize the highlights and look at what’s next.

Legislatively, 2023 was a year for the record books. From the signing of bills early in the year (the earliest a bill had been passed and signed in more than 50 years!) to the ongoing flurry of activity, changes, committee hearings, and votes the LSCP tracked as part of our ongoing advocacy efforts, the year kept us on alert in historic ways. In particular, the passage of new energy legislation will have a profound impact on our region. The final version – while far from perfect – looked significantly different than initial versions and that has a lot to do with the coalition of partners from our area who spoke up to advocate for reliable, affordable energy and to protect existing jobs. I’d like to give special recognition to LSCP’s Director of Business Development, Mary Myers, for her above-and-beyond efforts to support our advocacy work this year. We expect another busy session in 2024.

On the small business front, we focused our efforts on the collaborative grant for setting up the Small Business Support Hub. We couldn’t have done it without the other six strategic partners, and we remain excited about the impact the funds will have over the next three years. You can expect to hear more about the Hub’s operations in early 2024. In the meantime, www.marquette.org/thehub has the most up-to-date information.

The LSCP team also continued to ramp up our involvement in housing efforts throughout 2023. We talked about housing practically every day, from supporting the Intergovernmental Housing Taskforce’s efforts to facilitate dialogue, to administering the Target Market Analysis which will provide valuable data to further target housing development opportunities. All this work culminated in a recently adopted LSCP Strategic Framework document to further guide our housing efforts and we’re excited to talk about that more in 2024. Furthermore, the partnership with the Marquette County Land Bank Authority, InvestUP, and the Community Foundation of Marquette County to hire a Housing Specialist will pay dividends into 2024 and beyond.

Childcare SPARK, the home-based childcare business incubator made possible through an investment from Marquette County and the Statewide Equity Fund, helped move the needle on adding new availability for childcare. We’ve been updating the program and are excited to launch a refreshed version in 2024 to build on the success we saw this year.

And we continued to partner with public and private sector partners to enhance air service our of Marquette Sawyer Regional Airport. The updated demand and leakage study – a crucial data tool – should be complete in 2024 and will guide efforts to further address this critical barrier to additional population and business growth.

All of this happened while the LSCP team continued to provide our on-the-ground business support and networking programs which support our businesses and communities by forging strong connections to people and resources. Those are such a core part of what we do, and we have a robust list of events and programming coming your way in 2024.

There is so much more the team does that we could talk about – and we will. But for now, on behalf of the entire LSCP team, we wish everyone a peaceful and joyous holiday season. We all have so much to celebrate, and we look forward to hitting the ground running in 2024.