By: Benjamin J. Gohs, News Editor
Strong schools, efficient government and proactive attitudes in the face of a tough economy were some of the issues discussed during Boyne City’s State of the Community luncheon.
The fourth annual event, organized by the Boyne Area Chamber of Commerce, featured public officials speaking on a wide range of topics including education, city and county government and business.
Boyne City Main Street Program/DDA Executive Director Hugh Conklin opened the event with some of main street’s highlights including economic restructuring efforts, events like Boyne Thunder and Stroll the Streets, indoor and outdoor farm markets, and the group’s work on helping maintain the downtown’s historic look and feel.
Conklin also announced that the owners of the Thirsty Goat have offered to donate the historic Boyne theater to Boyne City’s Main Street Program.
“It’s a tremendous opportunity,” Conklin said.
Boyne City Public Schools Superintendent Peter Moss said Boyne City Public Schools continue to thrive despite challenges economic times and he feels the schools should be places of opportunity.
“We’re really excited about what’s going to happen in the coming year,” Moss said, speaking of structural, safety and technological improvements which continue to be made at the schools.
Among positive measures Boyne schools has undertaken include the new robotics program started last year, iPads for every student and boat building courses.
Moss said Boyne schools are also working with local manufacturers on a partnership to teach students tool and die-making skills.
Unique programs and dedicated staff, Moss said, are helping make Boyne City Public Schools more attractive to prospective students.
Moss also said the schools are going to “mothball” the one-size-fits all approach to education.
“We’re almost a hundred students than we were five years ago,” Moss said. “And that’s the lifeblood.”
He added, “We are bucking the trend—our enrollment’s coming back.”
Charlevoix County Commissioner Chris Christensen told attendees that Boyne City Charlevoix Road will be complete by October.
“That’s the first reconstruction of that road since 1958 when it was first constructed,” he said. “With the millage that was passed for the roads we are in the fourth year of that and we have completed 47 percent of the miles slated in that 15-year millage.”
Christensen said the Boyne Falls sheriff/county substation should be open in the next three weeks.
“That’s going to allow the sheriff to serve the east half of the county including Boyne City as well as Boyne Mountain,” he said. “And, additionally the treasurer’s office and the county clerk’s office have agreed to hold office hours there one day a week … so you’ll be able to conduct business there without having to drive all the way around the lake to Charlevoix.”
Christensen also told attendees that the Charlevoix County Planning Department would be merged with the county’s GIS department in order to be “more streamlined” and “more productive.”
Christensen presented an official of Merit Broadband Network, a company which is using federal stimulus monies to lay high-speed fiber optic cable throughout portions of the state, including parts of Charlevoix County.
Boyne City Manager Michael Cain said he is very pleased to report that Boyne City remains “Strong, stable” and “sustained.”
“The progress that we have been experiencing over the past few years has not been some sort of flash in the pan,” he said. “It is continuing. It built upon itself, and I see no signs of it abating—to the contrary, I see Boyne City continuing to position itself for even greater success in the years ahead.”
Cain spoke of investments and reinvestments in the community including Bay Winds Federal Credit Union, The Brook, Thirsty Goat, street reconstruction projects, Lexamar, Classic Instruments, One Water Street cottages and Precision Edge to name a few.
“A few years ago any one of these accomplishments would be impressive in and of itself but as you can see Boyne City is hitting on all cylinders,” he said.
Cain spoke of visits from both the governor and lieutenant governors in one year wherein they complimented city officials and business leaders on the community’s success.
“All these were accomplished by us working together and good, forward-looking, planning,” he said. “This community has a great track record of coming together and discussing our visions and setting common goals.”