Just a thought....

My wife put an interesting question to me the other day, and I thought I would share it.

“Bill Gates draws your name out of a hat, and gives you 1 million dollars with which to help the City of Ypsilanti out in any way you saw fit. How would you spend the money for long-term gain?”

I thought about this for a while, and after the visions of the wildest street party you ever saw and other frivolous adventures dissipated, I then figured that a million really isn’t enough to do anything meaningful…. Then I thought about it some more.

The only thing I could come up with that would actually help the city in the long-term (that a million dollars could help with) is if Lansing produced some legislation that allows built-out cities to collect fair taxes.

To have any clout at all, such an initiative needs to have the backing of many municipalities, and there must be thousands of businesses state-wide that are hurting because their downtowns are deteriorating.

A million would go a long way to drafting a piece of legislation that businesses and municipalities could get behind, and that Lansing could benefit from as well, and hopefully the businesses would be able to add a little to the pot to put greater pressure on Lansing to act. A couple of studies that make the point, a protest rally or two, you get the idea…

So there it is. Organize a state-wide campaign to MAKE Lansing listen. It wouldn’t solve all of Ypsilanti’s problems, but it would sure up one part of its funding.

So… what would you do?

Take Care



Steve Pierce, Ypsilanti, Michigan USA said...

I would take every penny of your $1 million gift and invest it into Parkridge Center to create a new center modeled after the Manchester Guild in Pittsburgh.

We can fix the problems with city finance through hard work and creativity without spending more money to march on Lansing.

But making real change in the lives of individuals, that is the tough nut where money like this can really make a difference. I wouldn't waste one penny of your gift on anything else.

The goal of the Manchester Guild is "A national model for educations, training and hope, Manchester Guild reshapes the business of social change through the arts, entrepreneurships, and community partnership."



- Steve

Sam Abuelsamid said...

I would take at least a portion of it and use it to establish an endowment fund to help maintain the Rutherford pool. With heat like we are experiencing now likely to become more and more common I think it is really important to the community to have have a place like Rutherford to go to on days like this.

Anonymous said...

I would take the million dollars and hire a consultant to do a study telling the City of Ypsilanti how to spend the million dollars.

You can never have too many studies or reports on something.


Rod said...

Hi Steve,

I just looked at the site, its a great idea.

I figured $1M would not go far towards this sort of thing, but maybe I'm wrong.

I figured that getting Lansing to listen sooner rather than later would at least mean that, regardless of who is in the top seat, Ypsilanti's burgeoning prosperity could be met with a corresponding increase in funding for services.

As things stand now, revenues increase at a rate far slower than systemic expenditures, and the city gets a progressively smaller share of the property value as Ypsilanti prospers.

However, having said all of that, if a solitary Million could do what you think it could at Parkridge, yeah that idea has great merit as well.

Rod said...

Hi Sam,

Yeah, the importance of facilities like the Rutherford Pool cannot be underestimated. I virtually lived at municipal pools and river banks during the summers as a kid.

A series of endowments to keep basic recreational services open was onother on my list of possibilities.

Thanks for the input


Rod said...

Hey Alan,

How's this?

"A study to show the importance of spending money on studies rather than funding initiatives that take a bit of backbone to implement make a real difference?"

I know a few pollies around here that would love that one. The true purpose of a study is to give a spineless politician someone to blame when the excretia hits the propeller, and its amazing to see what lengths some will go to in order to cover their butts.

Not all such studies are frivilous, but many of them tell you what you already knew if you were paying attention in the first place.

Take Care


Kate said...

I would invest the money in a daily newspaper that would provide accurate reporting of news of local interest. It would provide a voice to Ypsilanti and help the community band together to shout louder at Lansing. It would provide leadership through information and education on local issues and state and national issues that directly affect the local area. It would represent who we, the local Ypsilanti Area citizens and organizations, are and show what we are not. We are NOT Little Ann Arbor. It would help instill pride in our own, unique identiy.