Local officials display ceremonial ‘reopening’ of the region
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…”
The partial quote from Charles Dickens’ 1859 novel A Tale of Two Cities could be a reflection on recent times during the worldwide pandemic known as COVID-19.
While the coronavirus brought much of the globe to a grinding halt to life as we knew it, dozens of leaders from the Downriver area went on record to support a return to the “best of times” during a ceremonial “reopening” of the region on July 1 in Taylor.
The afternoon gathering, called “Reopening Downriver,” laid the groundwork for a Downriver business recovery designed to get businesses back on the path to success, while encouraging residents to shop locally and promote their favorite businesses using “#SupportDownriver” in social media posts.
Downriver business and government leaders stressed the need for a “united region,” citing a joint resolution adopted by the Southern Wayne County Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Downriver Community Conference (DCC). The resolution suggests several phases necessary for economic recovery: support for Downriver municipalities, workforce development and support for local small businesses.
The ceremony was broadcast live on the Chamber of Commerce Facebook page. At the end of a series of addresses, participants gathered for a ceremonial ribbon cutting. A number of lawn signs created by Taylor-based MI Custom Signs containing the #SupportDownriver message were distributed.
“The event was a significant and symbolic step forward for the Downriver region as we look to reopen in-person economic activity safely and responsibility,” summed up Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Ronald Hinrichs.
During his address, Hinrichs said the pandemic spoiled “the best economy in most if not all of our lifetimes.” He said the campaign is meant to help return businesses to economic prosperity.
“It’s going to take our entire community coming together to save businesses and jobs by shopping small and local,” said Hinrichs, who lives in Riverview.
Hinrichs urged state and federal leadership to provide additional grant funding for businesses seeking personal protection equipment during the pandemic.
DCC Executive Director Jim Perry said there is a push to get federal financial support for “local municipalities who have been significantly impacted as a result of the pandemic.” He said the DCC will continue to provide job training and other services.
Other officials made announcements designed to deal with improving the business and economic climate. Wayne County Treasurer Eric Sabris said there would be no foreclosures into March 2021. He said it is important for property owners to keep their properties, to keep businesses alive and to keep people employed. He urged people to get on a tax payment plan, if necessary, through the Treasurer’s office website.
Keynote speaker Michael Patrick Shiels, a former Wyandotte and Grosse Ile resident, told a story about how he received advice along the way to his successful career by reaching out to successful business and government leaders, including President George Herbert Walker Bush and Downriver industrialist Heinz Prechter, who lived on Grosse Ile at the time. Now a veteran radio personality and host of Spotlight Media Studios’ “Michigan’s Big Show,” Shiels indicated anyone needing help should ask for it.
To learn more about the #SupportDownriver campaign and to view downloadable letters, social media banners and fliers, visit the website www.swcrc.com/SupportDownriver. For more information about DCC services and programs, visit www.dccwf.org.