Population trends concerning

We doubt very many Northeast Michiganders want to see our rusticly beautiful home turn into a bustling mini-metropolis.

We certainly don’t.

However, recent reporting by News staff writer Crystal Nelson shows Northeast Michigan moving in the wrong direction. For years, death rates here have exceeded birth rates, and too few people have moved into the area to make up for that natural population loss.

To a potential developer, fewer residents means fewer customers, and our long-term trends could cause that potential developer to look elsewhere for places to spend his or her money.

Now, we face a bit of a chicken-or-the-egg situation. Investment, which means jobs and a quality of life, could cause more people to stay here or move here, but we may need more people to stay here and move here before we get that investment.

Folks behind economic development in our communities have done excellent work, with may projects — the Northland Area Federal Credit Union headquarters, the new patient tower at MidMichigan Medical Center-Alpena, the renovation of the former State and Royal Knight theaters and the old Antique Mall — either recently completed or in the works, and more on the way.

But the losses already realized and further losses projected are concerning.

It’s up to all of us to turn things around. Those of us who are here have to always sell our community as the beautiful, peaceful place that it is. When things come up that threaten those selling points — spikes in crime, for example — we have to get involved and demand our leaders work hard to address those issues.

And we have to always make sure we are our best warm and inviting selves when new neighbors move to town or out-of-towners come for a visit.

We believe things can and will turn around, but big developers can’t do it alone.


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