Torch Voices: Big Rapids Not Big Enough

I was disappointed when I picked up my newest Torch to read the article “Big Rapids not big enough” written by Antonio Coleman. The article looked as though it might as well have been written by Dr. Don Roy (who I know well) as he was quoted so many times within the article. Krystina Woelkers and Amy Buse were the only other people quoted and not one person from the Big Rapids Community or business community was quoted.

I have lived in this community my entire life and while Big Rapids has always been a “suit case” school I have noticed the trend to be the exact opposite. I should know as I own a Kilwin’s Chocolate shop downtown and my store has a great University clientele, especially on weekends. I also believe that there are a lot more options for our students now than even 5 years ago. We have been working extremely hard to provide more options for students who do choose to spend the weekends here in Big Rapids.

The students come here to receive a top notch education. If more students would decide to stay here during the weekends there would be more options and more jobs for them. With the Gate, Bigbee’s, Artworks, Riverwalk, our parks, entertainment downtown in the spring and summer weekends, concerts at Hemlock Park, farmer’s market, and new food establishments with plenty of different food choices many of these students just need to explore Big Rapids to find out that there is more than meets the eye. The University is constantly bringing in entertainment, speakers and other events for the students. Big Rapids is conveniently located for traveling to Grand Rapids and many other places as well…….that would be called a strength not a weakness in my book.

Doctor Ron Roy says that “the University’s lack of being interrelated with the surrounding city signifies the separation between administration and the community.” Is pure bunk! and shows that he has not kept up with what is really going on at the University. The relationship our community has with our University has never been better. I am a perfect one to speak to that as the University has asked me to be a part of choosing candidates for positions held at the University, I’ve been asked to speak at many different classes during the school year, in another week I will be taking orientation students on a tour of downtown Big Rapids. I know of countless other community members that are also asked to be part of the University activities. Our Historic Downtown which is three blocks from the University and connected by Michigan Avenue will be undergoing a streetscape. I’m looking forward to seeing the new pergola created by our University Students to provide a platform for concerts in our downtown pocket park.

I believe it was a disservice to our community and to the FSU students to offer a very one side opinion on the front page of the March 24 edition of the Torch.

While I will be sending in a letter to the editor it will not come close to the front page headlines and the disservice we received by not being able to be represented in the article.

Carlleen Rose