Sawyer residents, businesspeople planning for future

Give the folks who live and work at K.I. Sawyer credit. Rather than simply sitting and stewing about the challenges their particular area faces, people are meeting those challenges head on, starting with identifying what the issues are and potential solutions.

That process includes focus group sessions like the one The Mining Journal covered last week. It was made up of business owners, service providers, educational leaders and community officials who broke into small groups to discuss major problems and challenges, strengths and assets, what they want to accomplish in the community and, if money were no object, what their dream projects would be, the Journal story stated.

A key positive, we believe, is the fact that the group stayed focused on solutions while avoiding the finger pointing and blame laying these sessions so often disintegrate into.

Hosting was the Community Foundation of Marquette County, the K.I. Sawyer Community Alliance and the University of Michigan’s Poverty Solutions. Participants represented a variety of agencies and organizations, including Forsyth Township government, Michigan Works!, Gwinn Area Community Schools and others.

Attendees developed a list of challenges that included, but was not limited to, transportation, lack of community involvement, different housing standards, public safety, poverty and a lack of volunteerism.

Among Sawyer’s strengths were the K.I. Sawyer Community Alliance, school district, airport, active churches, access to outdoor activities and green space, the Journal story noted.

It’s very early in the planning process at Sawyer. Laying the groundwork in these kinds of things is always somewhat laborious. That said, it’s clear to us people are excited out there to be a part of it and want change to come out of it. We expect good things going forward.