After booming growth from 1950 to 1980, and then again from 1990 in to the middle of the last decade, Saline's growth as slowed. SEMCOG projects the population will grow from 8,810 in 2010 to 8,942 in 2020. In fact, SEMCOG's projections show Saline growing to 9,550 by 2035, which represents growth of 740 people over 25 years. By comparison, the city grew by 4,000 residents between 1960 and 1980, and 2,200 residents between 1990 and 2010.
SEMCOG's job forecast for the city projects slow growth.
Today we ask Saline's mayoral candidates Brian Marl and Glenn Law about growth in the city.
Readers can see the candidates side-to-side at 7 p.m., Oct. 22 at Liberty School, where the Saline Coalition for a Quality Community will host an election forum.
Here is today's question:
What kind of growth, if any, do you wish to see for Saline? What role should the mayor and city government play in fostering that growth?
Constant and/or explosive growth in any community is not sustainable, nor is it desirable, but some level of activity is crucial to a vibrant, healthy community, and I believe it is the responsibility of community leaders to enact policies that encourage and cultivate economic activity. One of the things that draw people and business to Saline is the “small-town feel,” which is manifested in the street fronts, the way the cityscape is maintained and developed, and the types of business that relocate to and expand within our community. The mayor has an important role in negotiating a balance between thepush toward new development and the importance of maintaining that close-knit, smalltown feel.
There is also the question of geographic growth. A few years ago, there was a plan to develop an area in Saline Township to the southwest of the city border, and when it was determined that Township infrastructure could not sustain a new development, there was a proposal that the area be annexed to the city. If planned appropriately, and if necessary measures are taken to finance such a change, I would entertain this possibility, as it could benefit the future residents of the development in question, as well as all city residents.
The growth I would like to see for Saline is the growth in the number of businesses around the city. I would like to see store fronts that are full in the downtown area. As well I believe the city would benefit to see businesses locate to the Saulk Trail Commons strip mall. Small and medium sized businesses are the back bone of any community the size of Saline. As far as what role the mayor and city government should play in this, I am a firm believer that free enterprise is the best way to attain these results. Mayor and council can play a supporting role by meeting and lobbying potential businesses to locate to the city.
Saline Mayoral Election: Why Do You Want To Be Mayor?