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Murch: Two people were up for the challenge

January 27, 2012
Steve Murch - Managing Editor , The Alpena News

I didn't think I would get an overwhelming amount of emails responding to my challenge about coming up with new business for the area. The total, however, was less than underwhelming - six. Two of them were from the same person, and four of them were unsigned; only two followed the rules completely.

I don't know if that means people were apathetic, didn't have any ideas, or were like the unsigned ones, negative or complained about the rules. It doesn't matter because I had two responses that had ideas and, as promised, the best ideas are being listed.

Both signed there full name, but I'm only putting in their first names.

Kayla, who is from Alpena and attending college on the other side of the state, really got up for the challenge. She sent her ideas (she had two) first thing Saturday morning. Brian is from Oscoda and sent his in the first part of this week.

Kayla comes with the perspective of a young adult and her ideas are geared to younger adults and older high school kids. This is a demographic that has wants and needs and we can't overlook their thoughts or their money. Plus these are the adults of the future who will shape our area and if we can't provide what they like, they will move. Eventually that will catch up to a community.

Her biggest idea centered around providing an entertainment outlet for 16- to 20-year-olds, and she focused on a nightclub for that age group.

"There would be more than just your typical soda drinks, there could be all sorts of non-alcoholic beverages that are fun, blended drinks that make these kids believe they are adults but at the same time they are keeping out of trouble. There could be live bands, karaoke, a DJ. Kids and teens love music and being able to ... hang and relax with friends."

This is an idea I have heard before, and that complaint by people in that age group has been around for a while. It's an idea with merit.

With all respect to Kayla and her idea, Brian's idea was one I really liked. Brian's idea takes advantage of the early history of the area.

"Beside Lake Huron or the AuSable River build a 17th century French Voyager Fort and Native Indian Village. Invite re-enactor groups to hold rendevous and pow wows. A visitor center, souvenir shop with modern restrooms.

"In addition, our area is rich in Native American history. We should have a Native American museum."

It's not industry, nor is it going to have several dozen jobs, but it is a great idea that would bring people to the area. History plays right into much of what Northeast Michigan has to offer - from the sanctuary, to the lighthouses and museums. Being a major history destination would be a nice jewel for Northeast Michigan just the same.

Was this idea a major success? Depends on how you measure success. An idea that came up should prove that someone cares about Alpena and Northeast Michigan and wants it to be a place people want to live and enjoy. So in some respects, yes it was a major success.

Kayla and Brian, thank you for your input. Those who didn't sign, thank you too. At least you wrote something.



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