The New Year often brings with it feelings of optimism, hope and a desire for a fresh start in new directions. Those are emotions that many of us in the Greater Lansing region are experiencing, as we approach the start of a new era in Lansing City Hall; Andy Schor takes the oath of office as Lansing’s mayor on Jan. 1.
The business community has enjoyed a strong, positive relationship with Schor’s predecessor, Virg Bernero, due to the outstanding leadership he has provided during his tenure. As a strong supporter of Schor’s election, the Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce (LRCC) looks forward to the opportunities awaiting our entire region.
Schor’s victory this past November can be viewed as a mandate to tackle some difficult challenges in the coming months. It is the LRCC’s hope that he will capitalize on existing goodwill, as he starts his term and begins to tackle some of those challenges.
A recent survey of Chamber members gives a clear indication of what issues are on the priority list: rebuilding roads and sidewalks, building a stronger economy and creating new jobs, to name a few. But, the heart of these priorities is to restore the capital area community to full financial health.
Lansing faces a daunting challenge of eliminating more than $600 million in unfunded liabilities; its Financial Health Team (FHT) has come out with a series of recommendations to address this issue. There isn’t an effortless way to go about it successfully, but the fact remains that Lansing will not be able to achieve its other goals until tough decisions are made to address fiscal realities.
The entire region needs a strong central city if we are to build the type of world-class community Greater Lansing can become. That is why it is imperative for our region to forget about political boundaries and turf struggles: to approach our challenges from a regional perspective. This, perhaps, represents one of the greatest opportunities for Schor’s administration.
Some regional partnerships are emerging to accomplish some exciting prospects, including the recently formed Capitol Council of Governments. Mayor Schor’s background in county and state government have allowed him to build relationships over the years and open the doors to a new era of synergy for a better region.
There’s a sense of positive momentum when a new team takes over. The business community looks forward to working with Mayor Schor, and our regional partners, to build a greater city.