Harrison TownshipAugust 1, 2012
County leaders work to promote Lake St. Clair
By Robert Guttersohn
C & G Staff Writer
HARRISON TOWNSHIP — When manufacturing was at its peak in metro Detroit and more high-wage jobs were available for Macomb County residents, Eric Foster said, there was no need to advertise all that Lake St. Clair offers.
At that time, all the lakeside homes were filled, and the various boat clubs had plenty of members, said Foster, a managing member of the Belle Maer Harbor.
But after the decline of Michigan manufacturing, it’s a much different story. With an increase in lakeside home and club membership vacancies, the 430-square-mile lake grew underappreciated by residents of Southeast Michigan, Foster said.
“You have people west of Woodward who think it’s a pond,” Foster said.
To combat this, the boat clubs surrounding Lake St. Clair teamed up with the Macomb County Chamber of Commerce four years ago to tackle the task of promoting the lake.
“Our mission was to just bring more awareness to what we have in Lake St. Clair and its amenities,” Foster said.
Foster began his fight by going to the Macomb County Road Commission and requesting that they place signs advertising the lake near I-94 exits leading to the water. The Macomb County Chamber of Commerce has done its part by hosting the annual Lake St. Clair Appreciation Day for the past four years.
The chamber started the event to educate the county’s various lawmakers and business leaders on Lake St. Clair’s role as an economic engine. This year, it coincides with Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel’s Blue Water Economy initiative, which, he said, will use the lake as leverage to diversify the county’s economy.
Already, the county has announced several planned events on the lake, including Aquapalooza, touted by the county as being Lake St. Clair’s “biggest water and boat party.”
“If you’ve been here, you’ve touched it; you’ve experienced it; you’ve felt it — then you have an appreciation for it,” Hackel said at MacRay Harbor during the fourth annual appreciation day.
Like Foster, Hackel believes the lake is sometimes under appreciated, but Hackel thinks that is changing as the county continues to grow in population.
“I’ve got to believe one of the real reasons people are moving here is the quality of life and the rich asset that we have here that we keep promoting,” he said. “Success breeds success.”
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