LSCP to seek city funding

MARQUETTE – The Lake Superior Community Partnership is planning to request funding from the city of Marquette during budget discussions in the coming weeks.

The LSCP, a Marquette-based regional economic development organization, last received a direct contribution – just $3,000 – from the city in the fall of 2010. In previous years, the city had contributed $15,000 or more.

LSCP CEO Amy Clickner said the organization has not requested funding from the city since that time, but said her organization is “in a good position to show value” to the Marquette City Commission this year.

“We do believe that economic development is everybody’s responsibility and we are looking forward to approaching the commission at some point to talk about that,” Clickner told the commission during a presentation Monday night.

In preparation for the impending budget workshops – the city’s budget process will officially kick off next month – a pair of commissioners asked Clickner to share some detailed information.

Commissioner Mike Coyne said that although he appreciates the work done by the LSCP, he would like to hear specific examples, including anecdotal evidence, of how the LSCP has benefitted the city.

“When you come to us, I would personally think you might receive a friendlier welcome if you could be more specific,” Coyne said. “It’s hard to not pave a street and (instead) have somebody working with somebody downstate. I think that’s something that could convince me one way or the other – specifics as to how Marquette has benefited in the past year by your organization.”

Similarly, Commissioner Fred Stonehouse told Clickner he would like to see “names, dates and times,” detailing Marquette businesses and individuals the LSCP had met with in the last year and what was done for each.

Clickner told the board she would accommodate the requests to the best of her ability, but said that trust is important in economic development.

“I can work with you on some of that, but I certainly can’t betray a client’s trust in the process,” she said.

The city would not represent a major portion of the LSCP’s funding. Clickner said the LSCP’s budget is about $700,000 and said that roughly one-quarter of that money comes from public sources. The remainder of the funding is private.

While in front of the commission, Clickner also detailed the LSCP’s successes from the previous year.

“In the last 12 to 18 months, we really went through a lot of restructure, reorganization, refocusing and rebranding,” she told the board.

The new focus has allowed the organization to concentrate entirely on economic development, she said. The LSCP has also crafted a three-year plan that is being updated in six-month intervals.

“We’re always making adjustments that are necessary to meet our goals,” Clickner said.

In the last year, the organization provided services to 265 clients and welcomed 33 new partners, according to a Monday press release.

Additionally, at the International Economic Development Council’s annual meeting, the LSCP was recognized with the Silver Medal Award for a high-performing economic development organization in a community of 25,000-100,000.

The LSCP also serves as the Upper Peninsula’s lead economic development organization for the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. In that capacity, Clickner said, the group acts as a liaison between local business owners and the MEDC.

The LSCP’s office – located at 501 S. Front St. – is situated on a piece of property that the organization leases from the city.

Kyle Whitney can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 250.