2017-10-26 / News

Connie Litzner Unopposed for Mayor

Connie Litzner Connie Litzner Incumbent Connie Litzner is running unopposed for mayor of St. Ignace in the Tuesday, November 7, election. The mayor’s term is two years.

Please write a brief introduction about yourself.

Hello, my name is Connie Litzner, and my husband of 42 years is Daniel. We have two children, Jason and Bekka. St. Ignace has been our home for the majority of our lives, and while my husband was stationed at the Michigan State Police Post in Negaunee for 18 years, we always looked forward to coming back to St. Ignace. While my husband finished out his career at the St. Ignace Post, I worked at home doing window treatments, and also worked as project director for the St. Ignace Area Hope thrift store.

I’ve spent the last two years as the City of St. Ignace mayor, which I have found both challenging and rewarding. I am a member of the Historical Society, a board member of the St. Ignace Area Hope, and member of the St. Ignace Area Lions Club.

How could we make the town a better place to live?

St. Ignace has always been a great place to live. We have a rich cultural history, beautiful natural landmarks, views of the lakes and its islands unmatched anywhere in Michigan, and we have the privilege of being located at the doorway to the Upper Peninsula with the magnificent Mackinac Bridge leading the way to that entrance. With that said, St. Ignace, like most cities, can always use improvements to make it a better place to live. While we try to keep our downtown looking good for our tourist guests, our main industry, it’s also important that we continue to improve our streets and infrastructures for our many residential citizens. As mayor, I hope to be able to continue working with the city in meeting the short and long-term goals in accomplishing these tasks.

What do you consider the two most important challenges facing citizens of this city today?

I think some of the most challenging things our citizens are facing is, number one, housing. We need to invest in affordable senior housing, affordable housing for low-income families, seasonal workers, and also housing, possibly condominiums, for those hoping to live out their retirement years in St. Ignace. The biggest hurdle to overcome is finding space for this housing.

What qualities and responsibilities characterize the role of an effective mayor?

I feel first and foremost one must be a good listener. As mayor, I get many calls from citizens with issues and complaints regarding the city. As mayor, I try to address these issues with city officials and the council to satisfy those needs as best I can. I feel a responsible mayor is one who tries to educate themselves on the needs that come before the City Council and to work with the Council in accomplishing the needs, issues, and goals that best meet the needs of the citizens, businesses, and other organizations. I feel our current City Council works well together to meet these needs as best they can. We can’t always satisfy everyone’s requests, but we do the best we can.

What do you see as the community’s most important strengths?

Our citizens. We are mostly a tourist community and we count on our workforce and businesses to work long hours, especially from early May through late October and throughout much of the winter when we are fortunate to have the snow and ice needed for winter sports. We work together to keep our tourists coming back each year. St. Ignace is a big family that comes together during good times, but more importantly when someone is going through a difficult time, these are the times that we as a community bind together. The St. Ignace Area Hope is unique in that very church the community is willing to work together to help those in need. Other communities have tried to model their communities after ours, but can’t seem to find the cohesiveness that we in St. Ignace have.

What future needs should the city be planning for?

What’s in the future for St. Ignace? Our infrastructure, it is a continuous concern that constantly needs planning and implementation.

We are looking to build a new fire station to meet the needs of the larger trucks being built and also space for the ongoing training our firefighters need. We are also looking to build a new ambulance station to meet their needs, as well. St. Ignace does not have enough seasonal workers to meet the needs of the tourist trade, so we look outside the community to bring in workers, and in order to accommodate them, we need adequate housing, so hopefully this next year will see these projects come to fruition.

Anything else you would like to say?

As your mayor, some of the ideas that are in the works and projects I would like to see worked on would be the railroad grade project. I think it’s an exciting venture that would greatly enhance the downtown business area. I am also looking forward to the idea of working with the communities of Naubinway and Manistique on the newly added section of the Pure Michigan Scenic Byway, stretching from St. Ignace to Manistique. I feel this addition will increase traffic in these areas, thus bolstering our economy as well as theirs. I am looking forward to working on the new Fort de Buade Museum project, which I hope will be an exciting attraction to our downtown showing the history and artifacts unique to our region, and I am looking forward to the Downtown Development’s completion of the St. Anthony’s Rock Park, an added attraction to our downtown.

And finally, at the start of the New Year, I am looking forward to working with the new City Manager and new Downtown Development director. I’m hoping the transition will go smoothly and they will both be great assets to the city.

Thank you to the City of St. Ignace for your support over the past two years. As I said earlier, it has been challenging and also rewarding. Thank you for your patience and also for working with me.

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