Today's meeting was a presentation by Mike Szukhent, Executive Director, Birch Run/Bridgeport Chamber of Commerce and Convention & Visitor's Bureau. Also present was Andy Suski, Chair of the Chamber of Commerce and Jerry Preston, Vice President of Marketing for the CVB.
There are two breaks in the video, once when I had to change the battery and once when they took a brief break for the purpose of getting more information from the office downstairs.
It was a long but very informative and convincing presentation. The Birch Run/Bridgeport Convention & Visitors Bureau is working towards getting 75% of the hotels accommodations tax that is paid by the hotels in Birch Run and Bridgeport that currently goes to the county. That 75% would go to the Birch Run/ Bridgeport CVB to be spent on advertising for the Birch Run & Bridgeport communities. Part of the requirement made by the county and the Great Lakes Bay CVB is that the Birch Run/ Bridgeport CVB have generated at least $200,000 in local funds. The Birch Run Village DDA has contributed $75,000 to the local fund and the Birch Run Township DDA also contributed $75,000 to the fund. Today the Bridgeport DDA voted to contribute $50,000 to the local fund.
It is a big investment for the DDA but the payback will be even bigger. I believe that with the merging of Birch Run and Bridgeport, with the outstanding members they have working on this, that they can make it happen.
This is a investment in the future. With the things that Bridgeport has to offer now and is working on for the future, this was a wise decision. We have things now like the Historical Village, the Bridge Fest festival that continues to grow, the Historical State St. Bridge on the Cass River and the pedestrian trail from the bridge through Lyle Park, Davis Park, the Liberty Park complex. The plans for the future here include the canoe launches, the Cass River Trailhead park area at the bridge, extending the pedestrian trail to loop all the way around back to the bridge, and a little further down the road the Great Lakes Discovery Center, possibly expanding the trail to connect with the trail in Birch Run. When you take these things and the possibilities of growth that the CVB could bring, the future for Bridgeport looks promising.
I would like Bridgeport to stay my nice quiet little town forever. I will miss being able to spend hours at the river and park with my dog and never see another person; but Bridgeport will die with out new growth and I would love for more people to enjoy the Cass River area as much as I do and have for my entire life.