Douglas planner Lynee Wells addresses public meeting attendees Jan. 26.

SDABA head dazed, confused over Douglas plan

By: 
Jim Petzing
I'm sorry, but as president of the Saugatuck-Douglas Area Business Association, representing more than 250 area businesses, and a local business owner and resident myself, We must grow! It’s not a question of “IF.” Just look at the empty storefronts in downtown Douglas and along Blue Star Highway (e.g Haworth building, Kalico Kitchen, Douglas Professional Building). It’s obvious we need more than summer tourists and our small population of full-time locals to support our existing businesses 365 days a year. Where is the short-term economic development plan to fill these spaces? Who’s in charge and taking ownership? Who is helping plan the types of businesses that should be in these locales based on our future growth target and their needs? I’m happy to help, but I personally have no power. Where is the power? Who has it? I’m dazed, confused and frustrated.

I feel compelled to write after attending the past two Douglas master plan meetings, branded “Our Douglas Vision,” at Saugatuck Brewing Co. Jan. 26 and March 23.

 These sessions (and the associated project work) have been led by Williams & Works, a Grand Rapids consulting firm that helps create inviting, sustainable communities, and Edgewater Resources, a St. Joseph consultancy specializing in community and waterfront enhancement, both contracted by Douglas City Council.

The master plan development process, required by the state every five years, is meant to outline the direction Douglas will take over the next 10 years in community, economic and social growth and development, using input from interested residents, business owners and community members.

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