An important decision was made recently that will impact the community of Alpena. The county commissioners voted on the future of Northern Lights Arena.
You may have heard something about the plaza proposed for Downtown Alpena. Decisions that will impact the community are going to be made about the plaza.
The plaza happens to be part of the overall branding effort for Alpena. You may have heard about the brand that was decided a best fit for Alpena Sanctuary of the Great Lakes, marine, body and soul.
As this town continues to push forward, there will be many decisions like the three I mentioned that will have great potential for the economy of this area if we choose to respond to them in a supportive manner.
When I agreed to write these columns I told myself I would not write about politically charged topics. So this is not support for, or a statement against, any decisions that have been made regarding any topics, by any boards or committees. I am not going to let my, or the Chamber's opinion on any of the topics show because this is not about taking sides. It is about the choice you have after decisions are made.
When a decision is made, there are different actions you can take. You can choose not to support the decision. You can choose to support the decision. Or you can choose to be neutral about the decision. In an ideal scenario the community would rally behind the decision, put personal differences aside, and support it so that whatever the decision was, it would have the greatest possible outcome for the community as a whole.
Why is this important? Because unity and cohesiveness is the best way to grow a community. Because we need to support the assets we have here if we want this town to be successful. Because sometimes we need to put our personal feelings aside and do what's right for the community. Because we need to recognize when we are letting the immediacy of our thoughts cloud the value of the bigger picture.
For example, we need to show our support to Northern Lights Arena because it is an asset to the health of the entire community. When the plaza is built, we need to stand behind it and utilize it because no matter how you feel about the plaza, its location, or the changes the plaza might lead to, you can't ignore the opportunities it creates for the area. We need to do our part to share and grow the brand because a strong brand is tightly linked to a stronger economy.
Rallying behind a decision doesn't have to exist without concerns or questions. It means focusing on how you can support it instead of how you can tear it apart or avoid it. It means adopting an attitude of, "How can I help lead this to the most successful outcome?"
I hope that when you hear a decision that's been made, your response is more supportive than negative or neutral. When you hear about a proposed new project for the area, I hope you strive to fully understand it, including the bigger picture and value it could bring and not get wrapped up in the small details or immediate changes it will cause. Chances are those concerns are all solvable with a cooperative approach and they don't need to stand in the way of us embracing opportunity.
This is about the opportunity we have after a decision is made. The intent is not to suggest that getting involved before the decision is made is not important. Because being part of the decision is important. But not everyone will choose to do that. Instead, I wanted to address the supportive role we can play after a decision is made.
Whether we agree with them or not, whether we choose to participate in making them or not, we should all take personal responsibility to make sure we support the assets we have here in this community. We should take some ownership to make sure projects produce the best outcomes possible. Jackie Krawczak is the executive director of the Alpena Area Chamber of Commerce. Her column runs bi-weekly on Tuesdays. Follow Jackie on Twitter @jkrawczak.