Stronger Together: LSCP’s West End Forward Initiative

On January 30, the LSCP announced a shared vision with the Greater Ishpeming Negaunee Chamber of Commerce for expanded on-the-ground business support services in western Marquette County. The shared vision resulted from many conversations with local leaders and businesses on how to turn a challenging situation into a positive. I’m proud of this shared vision and excited for what the future brings as the LSCP establishes a more substantial on-the-ground presence in the West End.

West End Forward will be an ongoing initiative, and we know it will take time for some businesses and communities to see the value an expanded LSCP presence brings. But it is important to remember that the LSCP is no stranger to the West End, our support has always been countywide. From our work with the cities of Ishpeming and Negaunee to the West End Health Foundation and Partridge Creek Farm, we’ve been growing our partnerships =significantly in recent years. And that growth included a strengthening relationship with the GNICC in 2022 and 2023.

The truth is, we’re all stronger when we work together. Not only will we see operational efficiencies by running local business networking and support services through a single organization, but we’ll also enhance dialogue and partnership opportunities countywide. Marquette County is the largest county (geographically) east of the Mississippi River. That presents unique challenges to fostering a unified vision, and sometimes getting there requires acknowledging differences and building bridges to overcome those. That’s what we aim to achieve with the West End Forward initiative.

A key part of that will be the West End Advisory Council. The council will work closely with LSCP staff to provide honest, real-time feedback regarding business networking and support services in the West End. We’ll count on the council to tell us what’s most impactful, how things are going, what partnerships we may be missing, and where we perhaps need to scale back or ramp up efforts. Membership applications for that council are now open. More information can be found at www.marquette.org/weac.

The West End Economic Hub (to be in the space formerly occupied by the GINCC) will be a place for businesses and partners to gather, learn, network, share information, and more. And we intend for those efforts to be shared by our other economic development partners. We’ve already been in contact with them to discuss how they can be a part of the West End momentum, using the Hub as a home base for those efforts.

The LSCP’s 2024 – 2026 Strategic Plan places a strong emphasis on retaining and expanding our existing businesses and ensuring the LSCP is the most accessible, boots-on-the-ground economic development organization in the region. Our focus is on Marquette County as a whole, and the expansion of our presence in the West End is a natural outcome of those principles and goals. We’re grateful to everyone who has expressed support for this change, and we look forward to welcoming new members as we expand our efforts.

West End Forward is just one of many efforts coming out of the LSCP. From our work on housing and air service to our robust schedule of networking and educational events, we aim to provide incredible value to our members each day, all in the service of achieving our mission: ensuring a vibrant local and regional economy. As always, if the LSCP can be of assistance, please reach out.


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