LSCP Perspectives: As Seasons Transition, the LSCP’s Work Continues
Posted by Lake Superior Community Partnership on March 24, 2023
It’s officially Spring! While we still have some great snowpack for a last hurrah of winter activity, one only needs to look at the shrinking ice coverage on our beautiful Lake Superior to feel that we’re turning a corner with the weather as we move into the next season. We are so fortunate here to have an all-season economy and I want to thank all our businesses and organizations who step up to make winter the impactful season it is. We know it takes countless volunteers and significant financial investment to keep our trails groomed, equipment available for rent, events operating, and more.
As we move into a new season, the LSCP continues to work on our most pressing economic issues including expanding our labor pool, creating new opportunities for childcare, encouraging new housing development, enhancing our outdoor recreation economy, and more. Today, I’d like to provide an update on recent progress in some of these areas.
On the childcare front, the LSCP is pleased to announce that we have officially launched the childcare home business lab: Childcare SPARK. This innovative approach – made possible via a partnership with other local organizations – will support local residents looking to start childcare businesses in their homes. These entrepreneurs will receive hands-on support to understand regulatory requirements, core business concepts, childcare best practices, and early childhood education strategies. We are currently accepting applications to participate in the first cohort. Applications are due on April 7. You can find all the details at childcarespark.com.
On the housing front, we’re excited to see partners such as the Marquette County Landbank and Habitat for Humanity team up to successfully receive a $340,000 Missing Middle Housing grant; that project will add six single-family homes over five local jurisdictions. The State of Michigan recently opened the next round of this grant program which includes some much-needed changes to make it more accessible to our region. These changes were made possible thanks to coordinating advocacy from many U.P. housing and economic development partners. If anyone is interested in learning more about that program, please reach out. In addition to the units supported by that program, we’re watching progress on several housing developments throughout Marquette County and offering help where we can.
Outdoor recreation continues to be a driving force of our economy and if you happened to be at Econ Club last week, you would have heard a great update from David Ollila on Shophouse Park. In addition to that project, the LSCP is an active partner on the RISE grant to bolster our outdoor innovation efforts, and actively participating in other conversations where we believe we can be impactful.
These efforts are all part of a broader economic development push to focus on creating an environment where we can more successfully retain existing residents and attract new ones to fill open positions. It’s part of a major shift happening in economic development which requires a more comprehensive way of thinking and we’re combining it with the LSCP’s longstanding role of advocating for our members and being the on-the-ground resource for businesses and communities across the entire county. Our work is made possible by each of our more than 300 investing partners and we remain grateful every day for the chance to impact our region. As always, if the LSCP can be of assistance in any way, please reach out to our team.
By Christopher Germain, CEO of the LSCP writes a bi-weekly column for the Mining Journal.