The Opportunity of a Challenge
What does it really mean to be special? If you ask me, albeit a profound question, my answer would be simple—it’s all a matter of perspective. And on the morning of Thursday, October 6th during a unique meeting with Governor Snyder, our state legislature, and community members, I came to understand what makes our community truly special.
Warm coffee carried an aroma of energy throughout the room as we all eagerly awaited Governor’s Snyder arrival. The tone of the mingling voices from various community members hinted at the magnitude of this visit—many communities unfortunately don’t receive a visit from a governor for decades—but because of our Project Rising Tide selection, we sipped on our coffees ready to have a discussion about the successes and challenges of our community.
The discussion expanded across many facets of our community, from our schools to property values to millennials and everything in between. Designed as a challenge-oriented discussion, everyone’s pens were busy noting the various ideas and opinions shared by Governor Snyder that could help us push forward. It is no secret that we face some difficult challenges here—truck traffic, lack of retail, talent attraction, to name a few—but each challenge during this meeting was met head-on with an enthusiasm and momentum that Governor Snyder recognized over and over. Perhaps we create a community group only for individuals under 35 to attract a younger generation. Or create a Resident Alumni Homecoming to invite past residents to revisit and reinvest in the community. Or expand Charlotte High School's connection with Ferris State University to include its top-notch cyber security program. Our notepads were decorated with these various ideas, and the lessons were evident: keep the energy churning, focus our priorities, and achieve small wins.
With #CharlotteRising enduring as the catalyst for economic growth and vitality, the energy and momentum we have created has been and is producing results—the Masonic Temple apartments, Beach Market renovation, Christensen’s building purchase, Crandell Lake park development, Pocket Park project—we are literally transforming negativity into positivity in our community. Yet, we are still the beholder of many challenges. Nevertheless, if there was one takeaway that we hope Governor Snyder departed with, it’s that this community is truly special in its perspective of challenges. Rarely do we perceive them as hindrances—but often do we perceive them as opportunities. It is because of this perspective, which I believe to be difficult to find elsewhere, why we continuously improve our community. And that is how we demonstrate to everyone how truly special it is to be a resident of Charlotte, Michigan. That is why we are #CharlotteRising.
-Written by Dillon Rush