Logie Ends GVMC Run

    GRAND RAPIDS — The Grand Valley Metro Council began its 14th fiscal year recently by saying goodbye to a longtime board member, Mayor John Logie.

    Logie, one of three city representatives to the regional planning agency, had his 12-year tenure end on Sept. 30. Two days later he officially stepped down, doing so just moments after mayor-elect George Heartwell was sworn in as his replacement.

    “I think he certainly has given us a lot of insight. I’m sure that on a given occasion there wasn’t complete unity for some of the things that Mayor John suggested. But he certainly was a leader of this particular group and he is going to be missed,” said GVMC Chairman Jim Buck, mayor of Grandville.

    “We look forward to having George Heartwell with us. But Mayor Logie has brought some interesting viewpoints to this group and he has been instrumental in making this a stronger group,” added Buck, who served with Logie for all 12 of those years.

    Logie attended his first meeting of the then 2-year-old Metro Council in February 1992, a month after he took the oath of office for the first of his three terms at the helm of the city. Back then GVMC had 14 members. Now it has 32.

    “I’m going to miss not being a part of this wonderful body,” Logie said to board members after he shared a few farewell thoughts.

    The mayor, who chose not to run for a fourth term, told members that they should be proud of what they have accomplished over the last 12 years. He said other regions are still trying to learn how to cooperate and how to make government move forward, while the Metro Council has already learned both.

    The secret to that success, Logie said, was the personal relationships that members have made with each other. He said when he joined the council he only knew two or three others on the board and if he hadn’t been appointed to the council, he would not have become as familiar with as many local government leaders as he is now.

    It was that familiarity, the mayor said, that has written many of the organization’s success stories and led to flourishing unions between other units of government.

    “Would the six cities of Walker, Kentwood, Grandville, East Grand Rapids, Grand Rapids and Wyoming have come together to form the Interurban Transit Partnership if five of us had not been members and become friends on this organization?” asked Logie.

    Other joint successes he mentioned were the water and sewer agreements Grand Rapids signed with 90 percent of its customers, the Urban Cooperation Board that financially backs shared projects and services, and the East Beltline zoning ordinance the city agreed to with Plainfield and Grand Rapids townships.

    “So I say to you, keep working on these personal contacts and I think many more good things will follow,” said Logie. “And I’m going to tell you not to worry about the occasional disagreement.”

    But the mayor did warn the Metro Council that it had to do a better job of promoting itself to the public. So he challenged members to create an operational program that would increase the agency’s visibility.

    Logie also had some legislative advice for members. He said when they feel strongly about an issue they should not only take their case to area lawmakers, but also to the Michigan Municipal League, the Michigan Townships Association and the Michigan Association of Counties. Doing that, he felt, would give the council more clout in Lansing.

    “I’ve noted that when all three of them get together and officially get behind something, it almost always passes. The three organizations are a very powerful and coordinated body to get things done,” he said.

    Heartwell was sworn in by Kent County Clerk Mary Hollinrake. He joins City Manager Kurt Kimball and Beverly Drake as the city’s three representatives on the council.

    “I’m a thorough-going regionalist and I’ve coveted this position for years,” the mayor-elect said. “I know that what is good for the region is good for my city, and what is good for my city is good for the region.”

    Heartwell earned 84 percent of the vote in the September primary election and he takes office in January.

    “Many of you already know George and know, therefore, that you are getting an articulate advocate for not only Grand Rapids, but for this region,” said Logie. “And those of you who don’t know him will find that out very quickly.”    

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