By Ken DeLaat
“Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change.”- Wayne Dyer
I attended the city council meeting in White Cloud last week. Having been to many such meetings whether at the county, local cities or townships, the attendance is generally sparse.
Unless of course there is an issue that has divisive viewpoints and far reaching effects.
On this night the Council hosted a packed house with nearly 30 folks taking up all the chairs and some standing room as well.
There was none.
Oh, the council took a complaint or two about taxes and blight enforcement during public comment but that’s pretty perfunctory for such meetings. There was no ‘hot button’ issue to light up the citizenry, it seemed to be more a crowd who turned out to see what was going on.
And what they learned was that after years, well decades perhaps, of watching the city’s roads deteriorate into the kind of streets that are generally driven more like an obstacle course than a road, the streets were going to be repaired.
Mayor Jamie Denslow told the crowd at the recent City Council meeting that the new budget included a fix for the roads in the city,an issue that has been a thorn in the side of residents for far too long.The motion was made to include in the upcoming budget the road repair funds.
It was passed unanimously
“It’s not the ideal fix we want. We’re not digging up the streets and replacing everything but we are doing the best we can with what we’ve got ”
“It’s certainly better than what we have now,” said Council Member Jeff Murchison.
The meeting had a tone of optimism. There are people in our county seat who are dedicated to seeing the city improve and remain undeterred by the sprinkling of negativity and naysayers who tend to forever be lurking about when progress is attempted.
Also at the meeting were representatives of the Boomerang the grass roots group of folks who have done themselves well by shining a light on the positive aspects of the community through activities, involvement and a little pushback at pessimism. This group strives to harness the energy of the community and channel it in an upbeat direction. As a result while most of the community has embraced their efforts they also received some feedback knocking their endeavors. To their credit this group has persevered and remain seemingly eternal in their buoyancy..
We have heard a lot over the years about the glory days of White Cloud when they possessed multiple businesses (“We even had two car dealerships!”) and a much different level of prosperity. Generally accompanying this is the implication that if city leadership would merely make the right moves to encourage such a revival those days could return. This coincides of course, with the mandatory chastisement that comes when the decisions made don’t align with the thoughts of those registering complaints (generally through social media).
Here’s the deal. White Cloud is not going to be what it once was any more than Fremont or Newaygo or Grant or any other small town in America is. We are not the 1960’s we are half a century beyond and in case you haven’t noticed things have changed. It’s a different world and small towns across this wonderful country are striving to adjust. The ones who survive and even thrive are those who reinvent themselves, make the most out of what they have and create a culture of confidence and creativity.
A few years back the city was designated as a Trail Town and has made efforts to promote this and the area’s natural resources.
About a year or so ago the street lights came back on.
Soon the roads will get a bit of a makeover.
Changes are being made to improve the appearance of the city and make it more attractive.
There is action in the long dormant industrial park and a new business, a dispensary for medical marijuana, will be opening soon across from the airport after city leadership made the decision to join other cities across the state in welcoming this burgeoning industry to town.
And most of all there is a collective feeling of hopefulness among many in this little town “where the north begins and pure waters flow.”
There will still be those who will only see the downside of it all. Some folks thrive on providing a gloomy outlook and can be dismissive of any positive efforts.But these days they’re being drowned out by those who have embraced the opportunity for change.
White Cloud is trying. They are really really trying.
And from a very interested outsider looking in?
Well done White Cloudians.
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