Why are we publishing this information which some people think is
a disservice to Jackson? There are serious management problems here masked in allegedly
good intentions but in reality based on nothing but wishful thinking.
Making City Centers Cool has been the most recent cry from governments who see
resurrecting the core of the city as the way to future prosperity. As examples we see
Detroit Midtown, Lansing Downtown, Downtown Holland and many
other across many states seeking the holy grail of growth and prosperity.
Not to be left out, Jackson through the vision of city manager
Patrick Burtch and his supporters on city council believe Jackson is ripe for a rebirth
of the "city center" peopled with many "young professionals" scurrying about and doing
what young professionals do when they have jobs and can earn a decent living. To this
end we see
ever expanding city government with layer after layer of bureaucrats who never saw
a tax dollar they did not grab for.
Without exception, one of the driving factors the rebirth of our
communities is a thriving educational institution in the city core which provides a
catalyst for intellectual and economic development. Major employers are also essential
to growth and prosperity. The two major employers in Jackson are Allegiance and Consumers
U of M proposal to absorb Allegiance with the potential of substantial
growth has fizzled out. Consumers Energy who promised significant growth in the number
of employees downtown never came to pass.
Sadly, Jackson still lacks such a catalyst. The recently ordained
"Anchor Initiative" initially sponsored by Allegiance Health and Consumers Energy is
supposed to provide the seed around which growth can occur. This seed is allegedly 1500
downtown apartments, that number being ginned up not a result of pent up demand but a
"wouldn't it be cool if there were 1500 apartments downtown and 1500 young
professionals to fill them?" directive to the study group. Could as well been 3000 for
what it is worth. There are no jobs for the yet to be identified 1500 downtown
apartment dwellers. Sot of like "Field of Dreams", if you build it they will
Never content to take a look at where we are heading, the majority on
city council and city management barrel ahead with no long term fully researched
The latest attempt at stimulating growth is the Hayes Hotel project.
This will be the core starting point for the new 1500 apartments to be added in
downtown Jackson. A developer bought an option on the vacant building for $1. Though a
well heeled and productive developer, one wonders about the commitment of $1. A
previous developer purchased the option for $10,000 and backed out.
The agenda of the Burtch administration is to destroy as many houses
in Jackson as possible to limit the availability of mainly rental housing with the
hopes that all the new residents flocking to Jackson will find little accommodation
except for the newly created downtown apartments.
And the purpose of this growth is to create tax revenues for the city
to stave off financial collapse and the assignment of an emergency manager when all the
accumulated debt service payments hit like an avalanche.
Perhaps then Mayor Karen Dunigan saw it coming and wanted to get it
over with sooner than later. She was ousted by Marty Griffin who was a key player in
getting us to the position we are in now through his many years of bad
It is time for grown ups to be running city hall based on sound
business and legal practices, not some "How Bazaar" administration which sees Jackson's
future growth in sidewalk chalk paintings, a few chairs sitting on a pallet on a street
corner or decorating the back entrances of local businesses.
Journey through these pages and get a different
perspective not tainted by vested interests and narcissistic personalities.