The following op-ed was authored by Tim Daman, president & CEO, Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce, and was published in the Lansing State Journal.
2024 starts with an amazing and potentially transformational opportunity for the city of Lansing’s elected leaders to rebuild Lansing and invest in our shared mid-Michigan community.
Making the most of this opportunity will require resolve and a willingness to work together for a stronger Lansing — something each and every one of them has campaigned on, spoken about and promised to do.
Lansing is watching — and waiting.
In 2023, with the state of Michigan’s bank account overflowing with COVID relief funds from the federal government and surprisingly high revenues collected from state taxes, a coalition of Lansing’s leading organizations and officials set out with a plan to ask the state for
something that hadn’t happened in as long as most anyone could remember: a significant financial investment from the state of Michigan into its capital city.
Historically, state funds have flowed freely to Detroit, Grand Rapids and even the Upper Peninsula, but Lansing, while hosting the state’s seat of government, has been left behind and without. 2023 finally presented an opportunity to change that.
With Lansing-based state Sen. Sarah Anthony leading the Senate Budget Committee and state Rep. Angela Witwer leading the House Budget Committee, a diverse coalition of Lansing’s labor, business, and government organizations pushed for the Capital Region Improvement Support Package.
Thanks to many who worked together, the package was adopted and with it more than $250 million in state investment ready to positively change Lansing.
Funding for school infrastructure and neighborhood resources. Support for job training and housing services for residents who need it. Improvements to historic landmarks and investments for new facilities and amenities. Downtown redevelopment, increased housing options, and public safety. All of these things and more have either been recently approved by area voters or set on the path of progress through the state budget.
Now, it’s time for Mayor Andy Schor and Lansing City Council to finish the job.
This week, the 2024 City Council session begins, and in the weeks ahead, the mayor and council will have the opportunity to both accept the new funding from the state and start investing those resources into our community.
Our message to them is clear: There is no time like the present, and there is no funding to waste.
Coming soon to the city’s agenda will be plans for investing in new and exciting downtown housing and development opportunities, improvements to our city infrastructure that will open doors to new private investment, and enhancements to key neighborhood resources that city residents want, need and deserve.
The campaigns are over. The election is behind us. A new session of the City Council has begun, and the opportunity to rebuild and reinvigorate Lansing is staring us in the face.
Mayor Schor and members of the Lansing City Council, too many people (including some of you) have worked too hard in recent years to reach this point and not finish the job. It is not an exaggeration to say Lansing has been asking for its fair shake from state leaders for decades.
Funding for the Capital Region Improvement Support Package was a hard-earned and welcome first step. Now, Lansing leaders: it is your job to continue this progress by accepting and investing these funds in initiatives that will — literally — rebuild Lansing.