Alliance Sourcebook Due This Fall

May 14, 2002
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GRAND RAPIDS — The West Michigan Strategic Alliance is planning to release its Sourcebook in September.

The book, in its final stage of compilation, will contain the results of a two-year effort from the three-county coalition of private, public and nonprofit professionals trying to tie Holland, Muskegon and Grand Rapids into a single region. The Alliance has reportedly spent $1.4 million on its work since the group’s inception in July 2000.

“There are certain things that we are going to unveil in September that we can take action on,” said Jay Peters, executive director of the Alliance.

Peters, a Holland native, made his comments at a recent meeting of the Grand Valley Metro Council, the region’s official planning agency. He told board members that the area needs to get a better grip on the regional issues that West Michigan is facing and will be facing in the decades ahead, in relation to its position in a global marketplace.

“We’ve never looked at the region as a region before,” said Peters, one of 250 people working on the Alliance. “We are changing and going somewhere we haven’t been before.”

Peters said the Sourcebook will put West Michigan in its proper place on the global, national and regional levels, and will define the Alliance’s future role. He added that the region needs to discover some “champions,” leaders who will drive the area in the right direction. He also said that Muskegon needs to be further developed for the region to reach its potential.

Metro Council Chairman Jim Buck, an Alliance member since it beginnings, said it has been the most time-consuming service he has ever done.

“It’s a good thing I am retired because I wouldn’t have a job,” he said. “This thing has been unbelievable, the amount of hours that have been spent on it. But I think when you see the final product, you’ll see how much real effort went into it.”

Buck, also mayor of Grandville, said that of the 10 committees that make up much of the Alliance, the one on tourism fared the best.

“I believe they honestly brought together the convention bureaus and tourist groups in the Muskegon area, Ottawa County and Grand Rapids,” he said. “We are in that ballpark together, and I think that is very, very important.”

The Web site for the Alliance is www.wm-alliance.org.

“This will become a much more valuable tool in the future,” said Peters. “We are three cities growing together in a rather rapid fashion.”           

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