Yes, we must stay true to ourselves

At the Alpena Area Chamber of Commerce’s Good Morning Alpena breakfast on Friday, several of the city’s economic development experts told the crowd it’s important for Alpena to maintain its identity as development takes off.

“Being us is really important,” Jim Klarich, economic development director of the Chamber, told the crowd. “If we like us, someone else will, too.”

We couldn’t agree more.

Development is good. Our governments need tax dollars, our residents need jobs, and we must present our students a vision of a future they can live out right here at home.

But all of those things are supposed to make Alpena the best Alpena it can be, all working together to help the community thrive so that everyone who fell in the love with the place can have a place to keep loving long into the future.

It makes no sense if we develop our home into a place we no longer recognize.

So development should amplify our assets while overcoming our obstacles, not try to grow assets we saw somewhere else nor add new obstacles to our back yard.

The best way for that to happen, dear readers, is for you to get involved.

Speak up at government board meetings and planning commission meetings, or run for office or seek appointment to those boards. Tell the Chamber what you want and don’t want.

We agree that “being us is really important,” but we, the residents of Alpena, should decide what we are.