What was originally supposed to be held in person back in April 2020 was instead held virtually on Sept. 23, a reality of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The annual Bay Future, Inc. event featured a host of local stakeholders, outlining what has been accomplished in the recent past but also the region’s plan for recovering from the economic effects of the pandemic.
That plan, Recover Bay County – an addendum to the Bay Future: Drive. Forward. plan – is a strategic roadmap to the next two years of economic recovery.
"Our team at Bay Future has taken charge and has been a leading advocate for bringing dollars back into our community, as well as finding available funds locally to redistribute to those small businesses hurting the most," says Kristen Wenzel, BFI 2020 Board Chairperson and COO of Great Lakes Bay Michigan Works!
For months, businesses have followed guidelines to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Now, some experts say its time to push for economic recovery.Highlights from the event included a speech from Dana Muscott, city manager for the City of Bay City. Muscott hailed Bay Future for securing commitments of more than $2 million in direct capital support of businesses in the region since the Stay Home Stay Safe order was issued in March 2020. And Bay County Executive Jim Barcia demonstrated the need for such a recovery plan, pointing out an unemployment rate not seen since 1976.
Seth Perigo, community president of the Great Lakes Bay Region for The Huntington National Bank, went over the five primary tactics of Recover Bay County: Gathering leadership; supporting small businesses; assisting those industries most at risk; partnering with agencies addressing the issues of workforce and addressing the loss of jobs; and supporting the wider economic environment.
"Six months of dedicated economic support efforts have since passed and now is the time to make a final push toward the successful completion of our economic development campaign. We need to reach our goal for the support of this organization," says Pete Shaheen, Bay Future: Drive. Forward. campaign Co-Chair and Vice President of Shaheen Development.
"If we are to succeed and regain the momentum that we had in our former economy, it will take an all-out effort, a community effort, to get it done."
The annual meeting for Bay Future, Inc. can be accessed online here..
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