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In Grand Rapids they have Chris Knape (who went to WMU btw), who covers local development and here on Urban Planet the Grand Rapids community seems to have developed a sizable rapport with him to the effect that he writes often and the people in GR are fairly well up-to-date on their development news.

In Kalamazoo on the other hand, if you haven't noticed, the news has been a little slow. Many of us want to know what's going on but we don't live there anymore (or we never did). The interest is vastly limited in comparison which leaves us scraping for news.

HOWEVER, At Long Last we have a resource!

I finally discovered a development blog hidden in the depths of the Kalamazoo Gazette online.

Forgive me if others have found this before, but it's a huge revelation for me.

Let's step it up and get some comments going to encourage this guy to keep writing!

His name is Alex Nixon and I'm going to proffer a guess that he'll probably take a more conservative slant on things so consider that when posting comments.


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Economic development chief sees strong 2009 for Southwest Michigan

Posted by Alex Nixon {sodEmoji.{sodEmoji.|}} Kalamazoo Gazette January 11, 2009 05:00AM

I like this recent interview with the chief executive of Southwest Michigan First not because I think he has all of the right ideas, but because he has exactly the right attitude. No doubt his optimism is possibly a little over the top and some of his expectations may be unrealistic, nevertheless I wouldn't have him change it one bit.

In my opinion, attitude is EVERYTHING in today's economy, and from the looks of things this kind of optimism has been contagious in Kalamazoo and possibly the West Side of the State in General. Many areas in the Southeastern part of the state have had a self-image problem for a long time now and compared with growth and investment in the West Side of the State, and this, combined-with and as-a-result-of poor leadership in that region, the economy is suffering.

Enthusiasm and Optimism are infections and if leaders/communities appear energized to investors, that's half the battle. In response though, to people who would rather insert a modicum of "reality" to the conversation I think they're missing the point. This kind of attitude about a region is only problematic when it is coupled with poor leadership, un-pragmatic idealism and reckless spending. Thankfully Kalamazoo has been blessed with a lack of these. Hopefully this is yet further symbolic of some kind of tipping point. Perhapds Kalamazoo can follow in the footsteps of Grand Rapids which seems to have attained a touch of critical mass itself (let's hope it's sustainable).

ps. The pipe-dream, rambling, somewhat off-topic comment posted by Umleroi is me.

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