Vision 20/20 stakeholder luncheon provides updates and reveals new plans

Community stakeholders heard updates about several Vision 20/20 projects from its five committees at its fourth annual luncheon Wednesday.

Vision 20/20 is an intergovernmental and economic development organization of community leaders in Isabella County.

Quality of Life Chairman Mark Smith announced plans for the committee's Mid-Michigan Community Pathways project, which would focus on connecting the existing Pere Marquette Rail-Trail in Clare to the Fred Meijer Heartland Trail in Alma and Ionia Pathway in Ithaca.

“This is a wonderful opportunity that is just getting started and a lot of background work is being done to create this exciting trail project,” Smith said.

He also gave an update on the 2011 Festival of Banners, which will be expanded with the addition of Pickard Street and downtown Main Street to Central Michigan University.

So far the festival has received 400 applications.

“This project encompasses the vision of 20/20 and what the Quality of Life Committee is all about,” said Smith.

At the conclusion of the luncheon, the award of excellence in leadership was presented to Art Reach Center of Mid-Michigan, 111 E. Broadway St., for the work it has done on the banner festival.

Kathy Hill, executive director of the Art Reach Center, accepted the award.

“I’m pleased for the organization,” she said. “We’ve a put a lot into this large project with coordinating it, sending out fliers, and it’s a large undertaking.”

Bruce Roscoe, dean of students and chair of the Education Committee, discussed its work in promoting education in Isabella County.

There is a need for people moving to the Mount Pleasant area to know about the education opportunities available, he said.

“Our committee has been answering and responding when schools approach us with a need,” Roscoe said.

David Burdette, vice president of Finance and Administrative Services, also gave an update on university operations. He stood in for University President George Ross, who was ill.

Burdette said these are “exciting times for CMU.”

He discussed the importance of core values recently adopted by the board of trustees and how, for the first time, all committee meetings have been made open to the public.

Burdette also briefly discussed the recent state budget proposal and its impact on CMU.

CMU has tried to maintain a conservative budget with many of its employees taking wage freezes, he said.

He addressed the postponed opening of the College of Medicine. The college will enhance the other academic programs for all students, he said.

“This is an important opportunity for the region and we want to make sure we do it right,” Burdette said.

The university will work with a number of hospitals, including Central Michigan Community Hospital, for clinical training.