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Morning Brew Recap: Victoria George, Executive Director of Schoolcraft Tourism & Commerce

Recap of Community Connection Event with Victoria George.

In March, our Morning Brew featured guest was Victoria George, Executive Director of Schoolcraft Tourism & Commerce (STC). A graduate of Kent State University, Victoria holds a bachelor’s degree in Fashion Merchandising with a minor in Business Administration. Prior to coming to STC, Victoria served as the Board President of the Eva Burrell Animal Shelter for over ten years, where she played an instrumental role in integrating the shelter as a thriving part of our local community.

In her current role as Executive Director, Victoria has spearheaded the Economic Resiliency & Recovery planning, a collaborative effort completed in 2022 in partnership with Central Upper Peninsula Planning and Development Regional Commission (CUPPAD).

During our meeting, we explored the six areas identified by the STC as focal points: Unified Branding, Governance & Leadership, Electric Vehicle (EV) Infrastructure, Housing, Workforce Development, and Industrial Park Development. Victoria highlighted the work of each committee, noting the contribution of over 40 volunteers from various sectors of the community.

Unified Branding: This committee has the responsibility of creating a consistent brand identity for all marketing efforts across Schoolcraft County. They have been actively developing a tagline intended for universal use by the county, city, townships, and STC. Their aim is to include the words “Discover” and/or “Imagine” in the tagline, inspired by the two murals in downtown Manistique. Additionally, the committee has applied for a grant from USDA to potentially hire a marketing firm. This would aid in their efforts and cover costs associated with the rollout and printing of the unified branding materials.

Governance & Leadership: Acknowledging the need for enhanced training among local community members interested in board positions or elected roles, this committee has been actively developing a training program customized to offer educational opportunities tailored to these specific roles. Through collaboration with Michigan State University Extension, the committee has arranged four “I Do Solemnly Swear” training sessions for our local government. Additionally, the committee is in the process of planning an Emerging Leaders training program scheduled for 2025. Furthermore, they are working on designing specialized training for non-profit board members to help them understand and fulfill their unique responsibilities within their roles.

EV Infrastructure: Schoolcraft County, situated along US-2 between St. Ignace and Escanaba, has been identified by the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) and Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) as a pivotal location for EV Infrastructure. The addition of EV charging stations would offer both locals and travelers convenient recharging options. Thanks to Cloverland Electric’s support and initiative, they successfully secured a NEVI grant to install four fast charging stations in the Manistique area. Additionally, they have applied for a Lake Michigan Circuit grant to add another fast-charging station, planned for downtown Manistique.

Housing: This committee is dedicated to augmenting the available inventory of both affordable housing and rental properties. They are actively identifying local rental property owners to compile a centralized list for prospective renters. Additionally, efforts are underway to identify potential development sites, collaborating with MAS CTE to explore a site within city limits. Furthermore, the committee is organizing a community roundtable for small-scale investors.

Industrial Park Development: This committee’s goal is to investigate opportunities for developing our industrial park. They have submitted a grant application to USDA Rural Business Development to potentially hire a marketing firm. This firm would aid in creating a site plan and promoting the Industrial Park area.

To access the full report, please visit Schoolcraft County Recovery Resiliency Report.

Victoria also shared the success of the 2023 Manistique Folk Fest, providing attendees with data demonstrating a significant increase in attendance. For further insights on this and other STC accomplishments; please review the 2023 STC Annual Report.

In conclusion, we extend our gratitude for your continued support and eagerly anticipate your participation in future events.

 

The purpose of Morning Brew is to foster connections within the community, encouraging participants to interact with local leaders, business owners, and hometown heroes. Hosted at The Grind Coffee House, these events serve as a platform for meaningful discussions about current events and development in our community. Learn more.

RESOURCES:

Article by, Jennifer C. Watson, CEO, of Limestone FCU 

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