Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Bridgeport Planning Commission Meeting April 28th, 2014

This was my first time attending a planning commission meeting and I really had no idea of what to expect.  I had no idea what they involve or who the members are, but I was impressed with what I saw, impressed with the members; especially Mrs. Culpepper - You Go Girl!
The main focus of this meeting was to listen to Mr. Bewley and his ideas for development of his 60 acres of property here in our downtown area, his property is the former Bridgeport Country Club and Golf Course.
We could use some bigger development to keep this community alive and growing.  A Cabela's store right alongside I-75 would be very nice, but again I don't want to ever see us turn into another Birch Run with their traffic and crime.  The Dixie Highway from I-75 to Junction Rd. would be a good place for this kind of development that could also capitalize on our proximity to Frankenmuth.  The problem is these are hard times and the future is uncertain.  We are dealing with a declining population in our township, declining incomes.  I can understand Mr. Bewley wanting to development his property but since I live just down the road from this property, I would be very wary of what kind of development goes on this property. Something does need to be done with the property, it needs to be cleaned up.  The downtown area of Bridgeport is a nice residential area and a nice quaint small town and  I would like to see it stay this way.

There are two things that were mentioned at this meeting by Mr. Bewley that don't sit well with me.
The first is the future of our  Bridgeport High School.  There are decisions that need to be made at some point in the future as to the Bridgeport High School property and the future of our school system.  I hope those decisions will be based on what is best for our students and our school system, and not on the fact that the high school is setting on "prime" real estate and any dreams of future development.  Part of my concern involving the high school is also any future development of Mr. Bewleys property that is right by the high school.  Is that kind of development and the traffic it would bring a good idea to have that close to the school.  We have all the school buses that come and go from this area, the student drivers, students that walk to and from school, and also all the after school events like football games, track events, etc..   Development and the traffic it would bring could be a major headache and possibly dangerous to have that close to the school.
The second item Mr. Bewley discussed that bothers me is his hopes to bring a Cabela's store here to Bridgeport.  I agree having a Cabela's store by I-75 would be nice, but it is the selling point that Mr. Bewley is using to try and sell the Bridgeport location to Cabela's headquarters.  That point is that locating a store here would "destroy" Jay's Sporting Goods located in Clare.  Bringing in a nationwide chain so they can destroy a small family based Michigan business is not the kind of values that I share.  Nationwide chains come and go, they base their decisions on what is good for their profit, not the communities that they locate into.  They come in like a tornado and go out like one, they leave empty buildings in their wake.  Just take a look at Saginaw Township to see how these nationwide companies come and go.  Nationwide chains will never give you the kind of customer service that a company like Jay's will.  Jay's Sporting Goods started in 1971 and I hope they will be here for many more years.
I will have faith that Bridgeport Township will never base their development plans on the kind of values that would destroy a local business just to bring in profits and tax revenue.

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