Community Workshop for nonmotorized transportation is September 25

CharlotteStep-by-Step and Can Do! invite you to an important community planning workshop focused on non-motorized transportation, or ‘walkability,’ on the evening of Tuesday, September 25.

The workshop will be held at AL!VE (800 W. Lawrence Ave.), from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., however residents may arrive and participate at any time during that period. Snacks and child care for children 3 and older will be available.

The purpose of the community workshop is to gather public input toward the creation of a new community master plan for non-motorized transportation.

Whether a person is walking, bicycling, or jogging, and for whatever reason, they are a non-motorized traveler. Every day, thousands of people in mid-Michigan choose non-motorized means of transportation. These trips take place on a variety of different facilities – from those paths reserved exclusively for non-motorized use, to roads heavily trafficked by cars, trucks and commercial traffic.

Charlotte Step-by-Step is a local advocacy group working to create a comprehensive plan for non-motorized transportation throughout the Charlotte Public Schools district. It has the support of Can Do!, as well as the City of Charlotte Downtown Development Authority, Hayes Green beach Memorial Hospital, the Barry Eaton District Health Department and the Charlotte Area Recreation Council, among others. Its goal with this planning project is to help create strong non-motorized connections from commercial, education and recreational uses to local neighborhoods.

Planning and maintaining non-motorized transit infrastructure is something that needs our attention now, and for the future. The settings, local population, available right-of-way, nearby land use, topography and projected use are just a few of the factors that must be considered. Likewise, details of location and design of the sidewalks, walkways, crosswalks, curb ramps, bike lane striping, bike parking and similar items must be professionally planned if they are to be effective. Ensuring the system is accessible to all users, and incorporates appropriate signage, markings, parking, benches, lighting,      landscaping and other amenities are also critical factors

Most importantly, projects and principals must be adopted and planned in advance if the community is to be successful in pursuing the necessary funding.

Many of the improvementsCharlotteStep-By-Step hopes to facilitate will have to be paid for by grants and other supplementary funding sources.

The Step-By-Step initiative would plan for and prioritize local projects, and identify the potential funding sources that could pay for them. It will help coordinate our community’s efforts with the various funding agencies, and also help local leaders make better, more informed decisions related to non-motorized transportation.

Charlotte Step-By-Step will be working with the Award-winning firm of Williams & Works from Grand Rapids to create this Master Plan for Non-Motorized Transportation. The initiative will help local leaders plan and position local projects for successful grant applications and other funding that might otherwise be out of reach.

The focus of grant makers today is on collaborative projects and regional cooperation, and this will bring local agencies and stakeholders together in a single plan that we can all benefit from.

General Membership Hears Presentation About Port Lansing

Brent Case, Director of Foreign Trade Zone and Global Logistics Development for the Capital Region Airport Authority presented an informative program about Port Lansing’s role in international trade. As an inland port, Port Lansing is able to receive goods shipped by foreign manufacturers without their first having been processed through one of the seaports on the coasts. This represents a significant savings in time and money for companies involved in international business enterprises.

Port Lansing’s benefits extend beyond merely the receipt of goods shipped from abroad to include a wide range of opportunities for businesses in the region with international operations. Many of these are summarized in the slide presentation that Mr. Case provided and in this video. Additional information is available on the Port Lansing website.

Network Like A Pro

Can Do!’s primary tool for making Charlotte a more vital community is building relationships through networking. During this morning’s General Membership meeting, Laurie Lonsdorf, Senior Business Consultant with the Michigan Small Business and Technology Center–Capital Region presented a program entitled Top Ten Tips to Network Like a Pro. She provided a set of simple and useful techniques to develop and expand one’s network, whether one is new to the world of business or a seasoned professional.

Laurie has graciously made her Power Point presentation available to us so that we can readily refer to her tips before that next networking opportunity. You will find a pdf document with her slides here.

Our thanks go out to Laurie for sharing this informative presentation and to panel members Jeannette Sommer representing the Rotary Club, Rodger Carr from the Optimist Club and Connie Sweet of Women Connect for sharing information about the networking opportunities afforded by their organizations.

LEAP CEO Speaks To General Membership Meeting

LEAP, Inc., President, Bob Trezise, visited Can Do! on April 25 and shared with us his vision for Lansing’s lead economic development organization, and his determination to maintain a comprehensive and collaborative strategy for regional growth. Mr. Trezise spoke about his efforts to build a top-notch staff at LEAP, and to tightly re-focus its energies on entrepreneurship and business development. He said that he expects LEAP to earn respect throughout the region by providing real and specific value to the local economic development community, and by fiercely representing the interests of Clinton, Eaton and Ingham Counties.

He detailed a list of important economic development assets the Lansing region has to work with, and a number of new strengths the region can capitalize on. These include Lansing becoming a major location for insurance company headquarters, and taking advantage of its growing expertise in worldwide logistics management. He also spoke about several important new initiatives, including a Michigan Avenue Corridor improvement plan, and a new BRT, or Bus Rapid Transit, system that he believes will finally solve issues related to mass transit in Michigan’s capital city.

Trezise also presented a list of ‘audacious outcomes’ that he believes are possible for the region to achieve by the year 2020. These goals can help provide the region with a vision of what Lansing can look like in the near future, as local economic development agencies work together to create a world class city.

Can Do! Meeting Focuses on At-Risk Youth

Those who attended this morning’s Can Do! meeting spent an informative hour and one-half learning what is meant by the term “at-risk youth,” the challenge of meeting the unique needs of this population and the programs that have been established to address that challenge. Can Do! board member B. J. Behnke, assisted by fellow board member John Bailey, facilitated an interesting discussion among the six panel participants who provided us with insights drawn from their years of working with these young people. The panel members were:

Panel MemberOrganization/Position
Panel MemberOrganization/Position
Bill BarnesCharlotte High School Principal
Bill CallahanCharlotte Chief of Police
Eric EmeryRelevant Academy
Becky CarsonBarry/Eaton CASA Executive Director
Bill LuxmoreRelevant Academy
Rosemary AndersonEaton County Youth Facility

Panel members offered the following suggestions for how community members could assist at-risk youth on their journey to becoming productive adult citizens:

  • Provide support for at-risk youth within programs that are already in place
  • Look for opportunities to mentor at-risk youth
  • Support law enforcement programs that work pro-actively to address the needs of these young people
  • Teach at-risk youth “real life 101”
  • Volunteer to work with youth; give them attention within one’s circle of influence
  • Provide financial support for programs that address their needs
  • Don’t miss the chance to do the little things, including showing signs of appreciation
  • Hire at-risk youth to work in one’s business
  • Involve them in community service.