The Fight for the Soul of Three Rivers

To the Editor:
 Is the City of Three Rivers fighting for its soul (and its future)? It sure looks like it.
Managing Editor Alek Frost’s Saturday, May 12, 2018, detailed Commercial-News article on the Three Rivers Downtown Development Authority’s May 11, 2018, Board of Directors meeting and the latest adventure in how not to run a positive ongoing experiment in community redevelopment and growth spoke to me on a number of levels.
David Vago is the latest in a list of recent short-tenured executive directors of the Three Rivers DDA. A successful DDA needs positive, progressive, future-oriented members on its Board of directors and medium to long-term ED’s to see programs projects through to completion.
Rapid turnovers in DDA Board membership and short tenures by ED’s mean the the city spends weeks, at least, in finding new talent to appoint to the DDA Board and the Board often spends months recruiting and selecting a new ED. Given the need for and value of an effective DDA and a “wind at his/her back” ED, that’s a lot of wasted time and a highly inefficient use of people and resources.
As Frost’s informative article reported, the public has a lot at stake in the DDA’s ability to succeed at it mission — to sustain, redevelop and revitalize the downtown of Three Rivers. He reported that 19 spoke during public comment and quoted three at length: City Clerk Melissa Bliss, Becca Sonday, and Rob Vander Giessen-Reitsma. Their words are worth reading again for their spirit and taking them to heart.
I know personally none of the people involved (except for your mayor, Thomas Lowry, Jr., whom I’ve known since he was a child — many years ago).  Democracy and representative government are still long running experiments; they work best when people of positive minds work together to accomplish small things and great things — to climb the same mountains together.
During my time in serving in local government in Marcellus, I’ve kept my eye on serving the people and seeing to it that the government served the people. You can, too.
Burke H. Webb

Three Rivers Commercial-News

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Box 130
Three Rivers, MI 49093

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