Lt. Gov. Gilchrist talks thriving cities

How Michigan’s economy can boom in the western UP
Garlin Gilchrist, Lieutenant Governor of Michigan.
Garlin Gilchrist, Lieutenant Governor of Michigan.(WLUC)
Published: Oct. 22, 2021 at 3:51 PM EDT
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HOUGHTON, Mich. (WLUC) - Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist met with community leaders on Friday on the Michigan Tech Campus.

It’s part of his Thriving Cities tour, where he learns about ways he and Gov. Whitmer can help.

“What it means to be a thriving city is that everyone is really pointing in the same direction. Focused on increasing access to affordable housing, and creating generational economic opportunity,” said Gilchrist. “Improving quality of life for kids in cities, access to transportation mobility service is improving. While delivering environmental justice and equality to all the residents.”

A major source driving Houghton’s success as a city is Michigan Tech. The university brings in a wealth of diversity and focuses on the future.

But, that also leads to a problem.

“Especially in university towns like Houghton affordable housing has been a big challenge,” said Gilchrist. “That’s why the governor and I proposed a $100 million investment in our safe community development fund. Which is all about creating more affordable housing for more people in more places.”

Public schools drive the community as well. That’s why Michigan is using federal COVID relief money to help Michigan schools.

For example, in Houghton, the school district is getting $589 extra per student. As well as an additional $5.9 million for school infrastructure.

“This increase and this equity, we believe unlocks districts to better meet the needs of families that they serve,” said Gilchrist. “So, for example, if you have a district that due to its physical characteristics requires higher transportation costs, which is true for lots of districts in the Upper Peninsula, this budget gives you the flexibility and the funding to meet that need immediately.”

For Gilchrist, it’s back to Lansing to expand on everything he’s heard and seen in the 24 communities across Michigan that he toured.

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