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February 13, 2013

Southfield State of the City address set for March 18

By Jessica Strachan
C & G Staff Writer

SOUTHFIELD — Tickets are now on sale for the 2013 State of the City address, happening at 11:30 a.m. March 18 at the Westin Hotel, 1500 Town Center.

It’s the annual event that unveils all the city’s changes, plans and hopes for the coming year. Mayor Brenda Lawrence will deliver the address during the Southfield Area Chamber of Commerce’s annual meeting.

“Anyone interested in knowing how Southfield is doing economically should attend,” explained Chamber Executive Director Tanya Markos-Vanno. “Mayor Brenda Lawrence is our honorable guest … and usually outlines her intentions for the coming year, as does the chamber.”

For the sponsors of the event, Markos-Vanno said there’s some particularly good news to share with the event’s attendees.

The list of chamber announcements includes “big changes coming to our identity, continued growth in membership, a new chairman, continuous collaboration with city departments and other pertinent organizations in the Southfield area to grow and maintain our status as the ‘center of it all,’” she added. The return of the chamber’s annual golf outing will also be announced in detail, and the 2013 Chamber board of directors will be introduced.

Lawrence, who is up for re-election this year, is expected to share her plans for the city before her current term ends and give her thoughts on the year past.

“2012 was a year of many challenges for cities in Michigan. The city of Southfield has survived, and we are prepared to roll up our sleeves to continue to be a leader of economic development in this region,” she said in a press statement about the event.

Councilman Myron Frasier, who also plans to attend the event, said the State of the City is like telling the “story of Southfield.”

“It gives the mayor an opportunity to give a capsulized version of what we’ve done over the past year, since the last State of the City address. If people haven’t followed us on a regular basis, they may miss out on some important things we’ve done, but this will give the audience the chance to catch up on what’s happened the last year,” he said. “What I always look forward to is that it tells our story, but it’s a positive story. We’ve had some real challenges the past year, but she gives the audience a sneak peek of the things we contend with to make sure Southfield is putting its best foot forward.”

Councilman Jeremy Moss said he looks forward to the event each year because it shares the overarching vision for Southfield, but with many concrete ways in which supporters and leaders can work together.

“As with anything in City Hall, there’s not one person who dictates the course of the city and the future; it’s a collaborative effort. This event is a call to action for all of us,” he explained, adding that this will be the second year he has attended as an elected official, though he previously attended as a citizen.

“We are a city that is strategically planned, so we are able to do a little bit more with a little bit less, compared to most cities around us. We may be digging our way out of this economic mess our region is in, but we are not doing it feeling sorry for ourselves. We’re all in this together to move forward.”

Organizers plan for approximately 150 attendees for a couple hours of networking, mingling and vision-sharing during lunch.

The event will include local business owners, elected officials and residents. Tickets purchased before Feb. 17 cost $45 per person for Southfield chamber members or $55 for nonmembers, and the cost includes lunch.

Tables of 10 are also available, running $400 for members or $450 for nonmembers. Sponsorship opportunities begin at $1,000.

Money raised from the event will go toward chamber programming throughout the year, Markos-Vanno said. Lawrence Technological University is also a sponsor of the event.

For more information, call the Southfield Area Chamber of Commerce at (248) 557-6661. Tickets may also be purchased online at www.southfieldchamber.com.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Jessica Strachan at jstrachan@candgnews.com or at (586)279-1108.