Listening to Robert L. Trezise, Jr., President and CEO of LEAP (Lansing Economic Area Partnership) two times in one month makes me think that former Mayor David Hollister’s vision of Lansing as a world class city is coming to pass. Consider the facts:
- Lansing area ranked best in the nation for job growth in three major sectors
- Lansing region’s GDP is 2nd best in the State of Michigan
- Area population is growing
- Greater Lansing named one of three in Michigan with growing housing market
- Lansing is home to a number of major insurance companies and three state-of-the-art GM plants
I could go on (read all the good news at www.purelansing.com).
Not only is Trezise to be praised for his outstanding work at spearheading development in the region, but Hollister more so, because everything begins with vision. Vision defines the long-term goal, which then frames the central effort required to achieve that goal and the strategies needed for the work to get done. All this is being played out as I write this article.
But there is a greater vision overarching Lansing that transcends economic development and is, in large part, responsible for it. It has nothing to do with keeping GM or other companies in the area or luring them here to begin with. It is a spiritual and moral vision that encompasses all others.
For years pastor’s groups have prayed for the well-being of Lansing. One pastor I know of walked around the entire city interceding for its people. Another prayer group drives around the city’s highways, praying over it. Recently, Mt. Hope Church held a rally on the Capitol lawn, speaking blessings over the city, following the gathering by donating two tons of food to the City Rescue Mission. The impact of such people and events cannot be overlooked in Lansing’s rise in economic growth and other terms.
I can’t help but remember Mayor Hollister, who saw the strip joints and prostitution on Michigan Avenue as blight on the city. Today – as a result of his vision, we can be proud of the approach to our capitol, with its beautiful street lights and planters, Cooley Law Stadium, the Lansing Center being the highlights.
The truth is, by the blessing of the upright a city is exalted. In other words, it is the spiritual condition of its people that causes a city to be what it is. Economic development springs from spiritual development and, ultimately, is the blessing of God, not solely the works of men. True spirituality and prosperity go together; in many ways they are inseparable.
I am grateful for the vision Mayor Hollister had years ago - and Mayor Benaro is to be praised as well for continuing the effort. And Trezise - our appreciation goes out to him too. But the real praise goes to God, who cares for Lansing and its people and desires earnestly to see it thrive and prosper. The vision for Lansing is unfolding – all under His beneficent rule.