Logie Wraps Up State Of The City

February 3, 2003
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The same week that saw Gov. Jennifer Granholm in and out of Grand Rapids and President George W. Bush make major policy remarks at DeVos Hall, retiring Grand Rapids Mayor John Logie provided an 11-year perspective of community strides. The mayor also used his State of the City speech to advise the next officeholder in regard to future issues. That Logie has shepherded or overseen the fruition of dozens of key city (and county) projects likely marks his terms as among the most ambitious. The leadership and energy needed to continue such renovation of the urban center will mark his successor. It will be so much more difficult without projects in the wings.

Logie has indicated time and again his favorite activity is that of cutting ribbons — he was undoubtedly blessed in this area the past decade — but this would also seem the proper time to recount the enormous contributions of business leaders in the ’80s and the initial groundbreaking decisions necessary of his predecessor, the late Gerald Helmholdt. There would have been far fewer ribbons to cut in the ’90s without those investments and the midnight oil spent on plan development.

Another note of great significance is the unprecedented assist provided by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation in state “partnerships” of specific programs exactly targeted at problems, especially those related to urban decay. The MEDC was recognized this past month with an unprecedented four national honors for specific programs, each of which are evident in Grand Rapids. (It is noteworthy that even while Gov. Granholm accepted these honors on behalf of the team past, she gave the group full due and credit.) MEDC furthered the work of The Right Place Program, making a greater number of initiatives possible and “augmenting” the work of staff of the city economic development team. By Logie’s count: the creation of the Renaissance Zone, through which Grand Rapids leads the state in the number of starts, jobs and dollars spent, the addition of four more areas to the zone and expansion of two, leveraging more than $142 million in investment in the core city, creating more than 1,100 jobs. The MEDC also brought state financial seeding for Grand Rapids’ SmartZone and the M-TEC center developed by Grand Rapids Community College and the lead donations by Leslie E. Tassell.

Logie’s successor also will find the unfailing support of exceptionally qualified city staff leaders. Their desire and ability to reach out and work with other governmental units already has been established. Logie admonished the next mayor and city leaders to forge regional partnerships, which is sensible, even while his antagonistic relationship with the Kent County Board has been nonsensical and enormously costly to all county residents. While the Business Journal has touted the economic benefits of regional partnerships and cooperative ventures, we would ask Logie’s successor to make the county relationship the No. 1 priority, and set an example for the outlying — and distrustful — communities with which such partnerships are imperative for continued regional economic development and the “domino” benefits now fully understood by the community.

Mayor Logie will end his term cutting more ribbons, most notably that of DeVos Place, a partnership that would do well with Logie’s desire to build partnerships, and succeed with his ability to demonstrate such with county officials.           

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