Even though Gov. Rick Snyder hasn’t awarded the grant, the Grand Valley Metro Council is ready to go to work.
“In typical West Michigan fashion, we are moving forward in preparation. The West Michigan Prosperity Alliance will be ready to begin work after the holidays, if we are successful in our grant application,” said John Weiss, GVMC executive director.
The West Michigan Prosperity Alliance is ready because its 25-member steering committee has been selected (see sidebar).
Committee members have backgrounds in planning, transportation, education, economic development, work-force boards and business throughout the region.
“The group will work to develop a Regional Prosperity Plan, as well as conduct three large community conversations with stakeholders from the region,” said Weiss.
“Efforts will also focus on developing a list of projects of regional economic significance, which will have great impact on our area,” he added.
Snyder unveiled his Regional Prosperity Initiative last August, an effort that has targeted 10 separate regions in the state. His office named the Metro Council as this area’s fiduciary, a region that covers 13 counties. GVMC applied for a $250,000 program grant in November. The grant is expected to be awarded this month.
Members of the WMPA steering committee
Dave Bee, West Michigan Regional Planning Commission
Sean Dey, West Michigan Shoreline Regional Planning Commission
Steve Bulthuis, Macatawa Area Coordinating Council
Rick Chapla, The Right Place
Kevin Stotts, Talent 2025
Valerie Byrnes, Barry County Economic Development Alliance
Ed Garner, Muskegon First
Randy Thelen, Lakeshore Advantage
Dan Rinsema-Sybenga, Muskegon Community College
Fiona Hert, Grand Rapids Community College
Julie Van Dyke, West Shore Community College
Michael O’Connor, Holland-Zeeland Adult Education
Kathleen Sullivan, consultant
Doug Wood, Orchard View Public Schools
Jacob Maas, Kent-Allegan Michigan Works
Debbie Groeneveld, Muskegon-Oceana Michigan Works
Paul Griffith, Michigan Works West Central
Andy Johnston, West Michigan Chamber Alliance
Jim Sandy, Mecosta County Economic Alliance
Roger Stafford, Michigan Department of Transportation
Bill Raymond, Ottawa County Michigan Works
Jim Fisher, Padnos Inc.
Simone Jonaitis, Grand Valley State University
Linda Brand, Model Communities Initiative
John Weiss, Grand Valley Metro Council