Planning commission honors Johnson

ALPENA – The Alpena Planning Commission paid tribute to long-time member Cindy Johnson during Tuesday’s meeting. After winning a seat on Alpena Municipal Council during last week’s election, Johnson will give up her current position and the search for her replacement will begin.

Chairman Pal Sabourin presented Johnson with a plaque that commemorated her more than 10 years working on the planning commission and for the effort to help the city move forward. Sabourin said Johnson has a strong love and passion for Alpena and he enjoyed working with her for the last decade.

“Cindy has always been a contributor and she always had positive things to say about the city of Alpena,” Sabourin said. “She works diligently on any subcommittees we have had and worked on our long-range comprehensive plan several times. She has been an attribute and I’m sure we are going to miss her.”

Johnson said she is pleased to be able to serve the city on the planning commission as long as she has and looks forward to working with the council in 2014. She said looking at the new comprehensive plan and comparing them to older ones has allowed her to see what progress has been made.

“The time on planning commission has meant a lot to me and I’m happy to have been able to help the community in many ways,” Johnson said. “I have sat through two rewrites of the comprehensive plan and when you read through the old one and see all of the things you accomplished it is exciting. Then you see the new things you put in and you can see the new goals that need to be worked toward.”

Sabourin said the person who takes Johnson’s spot will have big shoes to fill and it will be Mayor Matt Waligora who ultimately will select who will replace her. He said people who are interested in sitting on the commission can get the necessary paperwork at the clerk’s office and return it. Then it will be up to City Manager Greg Sundin, Planning and Development Director Adam Poll, the planning commission and Waligora to pick the best candidate. Johnson said the two biggest attributes someone wanting to take her spot should have is a love for Alpena and serving it.

“I think anybody in the community, who has a love for the community, would work well in this setting,” Johnson said. “It really is that simple.”

In other business:

* Poll shared some correspondence sent in to the city regarding the new comprehensive plan and the minor verbiage changes that were made to the plan.

* Sundin told the planning commission the city has received a grant to upgrade some features that allow the Second Avenue Bridge to open and is working with NOAA to set a schedule time for maintenance around Lady Michigan’s tour times.

Steve Schulwitz can be reached via email at or by phone at 358-5689. Follow Steve on Twitter ss_alpenanews. Read his blog, Upon Further Review … at