LSCP looks to boost west-end economy

ISHPEMING – The Ishpeming City Council held a special meeting with officials of the Lake Superior Community Partnership this week to discuss how the partnership can help develop and promote economic development in Marquette County’s west end.

The LSCP, in addition to having bonding capabilities and connections to financial institutions throughout the county, is a full-cycle economic development organization, LSCP director of business development Caralee Swanberg told the council.

She and LSCP chief executive officer Amy Clickner said that the partnership aims to work with the city of Ishpeming, other Marquette County municipalities and the Greater Ishpeming-Negaunee Chamber of Commerce in the effort

One initiative will be to make area developers and entrepreneurs more aware of the LSCP as a resource and liaison they can use to help achieve their business goals, by providing or facilitating a variety of other economic development funds.

Some members of the council were initially wary that the partnership was trying to solicit a membership from the city – which would cost several thousand dollars from the city – but Clickner said that was not the case, and City Manager Mark Slown agreed.

“They didn’t come here with a hat in hand asking for money,” he said. “They came here to tell us how they could help us grow our economic pie, which is their authorized and legal duty as the county economic development corporation executives.”

Slown said the meeting was an opportunity for he and the council to learn how to employ the existing funding mechanism to deliver better services to our community and that the whole county will prosper if it has economically strong cities.

Councilman Mike Tonkin pointed out that a lot of the services the LSCP offers are the same as those provided at a more local level by the GINCC. Clickner said that they offer slightly different additional services, but said they do also work with local chambers of commerce to provide means for economic development to chamber members.

“We don’t do any of the event type stuff – whether it’s a chamber, a DDA (Downtown Development Authority) or the (Marquette County) Convention and Visitors Bureau, who is funded from tax dollars and does a remarkable job in advertising for Marquette County – we don’t need to duplicate those efforts,” she said. “What we need to do is have relationships with all of those organizations that are strong.”

Swanberg said one of the ways in which they’ve had considerable success is in hosting an event for area businesses at which the LSCP and other development organizations, such as Northern Initiatives and the Michigan Economic Development Corp., can discuss the services and resources they offer to give business owners a clear picture of everything that’s available within the county and the community.

“Let’s try to do it,” Slown said. “We need you. I mean, really, we need you more than ever to get this community going.”

Zach Jay can be reached at 906-486-4401. His email address is