“What are the major problems and challenges the community faces, what would you like to accomplish in your community, and if money was no object, what would your dream be,” asked Gail Anthony, CEO of the Community Foundation of Marquette County. The Community Foundation secured a grant through the Council of Michigan Foundations to help facilitate development in the county. The grant helps find funding from across the state that will then go to projects in the community. “So while there are no dollars that are being expended right now, the plan is in the future to really see where the community foundation should be placing their dollars,” said CEDAM executive director Jamie Schriner. Community members at the focus groups consisted of city officials, service providers, business owners, and youth and educational professionals. The most common issues brought up by the groups were blight issues, education, a need for community pride, and above all else, housing.
The Community Foundation of Marquette County had help from the Community Economic Development Association of Michigan organizing focus groups at Bell Memorial Hospital Wednesday, where Ishpeming community members answered a series of questions.
“A need for diverse housing, which we are hearing all across the state right now, and actually all across the country,” said Schriner. CEDAM will write a report from Wednesday’s findings within a month for the Community Foundation of Marquette County. The foundation then hopes to get to work with the Ishpeming community on securing funding for projects. They will then expand this process across the county. “In the next year we’ll be touching communities throughout Marquette County,” said Anthony. “We’ve identified 10 or 12 that we’ll be touching either in the dialogue dinner format or this community assessment format.”