By Nick Minock, Thursday, November 9th, 2017
CHARLOTTE, Mich. (SINCLAIR BROADCAST GROUP) — While Michigan’s largest cities celebrate their paths to economic revival, many of Michigan’s small towns are feeling left behind.
Political Reporter Nick Minock reported from Charlotte, a small town that feels like it found the keys to economic success.
Check out the news video here: http://wwmt.com/news/state/michigan-gov-rick-snyder-touts-project-rising-tide-in-charlotte
Michigan Governor Rick Snyder said Michigan is the Comeback State and Detroit is the Comeback City, but what about the small towns?
That's the question Snyder is trying to answer with Project Rising Tide.
As an outsider in this small community, Travis Lyon said he felt at home the moment he came to Charlotte.
Lyon said, “Everyone was incredibly warm welcoming.”
It was during the great recession when Lyon opened his shoe shop. Shortly after, four businesses downtown closed.
He said, "The town let the negative get them down, weigh them down."
Lyon said the town has finally lifted that weight off thanks to a state initiative introduced by Snyder.
Michigan Talent and Economic Development Director Roger Curtis helped spearhead Project Rising Tide.
Curtis said, “A program like this is really aimed at bringing that pride back: you are not forgotten. It's really easy to get that group mindset and kind of wallow in the mire.”
Project Rising Tide aims is to help ten small towns participate in Michigan’s economic growth.
Every small town is unique, with different challenges. Some have transportation, education, and even zoning problems. Lyon said Charlotte just needed hope and a helping hand to turn things around.
He said, "It's that momentum. That kick in the butt that we needed to take it to that next step. We had an effort, an energy, we just didn't have a direction to put it."
Charlotte is the first to graduate from Project Rising Tide.
Snyder said, “This is not the end of something when you talk about a graduation."
Although Charlotte has come back, Snyder said the town needs to continue to put its foot on the gas pedal.
He said, "You're accelerating. Now is not the time to be complacent or content about this."
Lyon is excited for what's next.
He said, "We are starting to get some serious investors looking outside in going maybe that's not a bad place to be."
Snyder said more towns in Project Rising Tide will be graduating within the next month, which means the state will be able pick up new towns and help them get on their feet.