Pontiac Summit Brings Everyone Together

The city of Pontiac is moving forward, and a recent event brought leaders together to keep the progress on track.

Community organizers, government officials, and law enforcement professionals discussed challenges and opportunities facing the city of Pontiac at the first Pontiac Community Summit on Nov. 1. The conference, which was held on the Baker College campus, created five key focus areas for consideration: Education, Family/Social Issues, Public Safety, Workforce Development, and Urban Development. 

“The Pontiac Summit provided the opportunity for diverse groups to
come together in a single forum for a common, coordinated purpose of
obtaining community support for complex issues facing the City,” said
George Miller, director of Oakland County Health and Human Services.
“With this opportunity comes the responsibility of the Summit
organizers to develop action steps and assist in the implementation of
those steps with public officials.”  

Over 200 participants, including members from Oakland County Health Department, Planning and Economic Development, Work Force Development, and the Sheriff’s Office, attended the workshop.  Oakland County Deputy County Executive Robert J. Daddow attended the event in lieu of County Executive L. Brooks Patterson, who had a death in his family. Also in attendance were Baker College President Jeff Love, Pontiac Mayor Clarence Thomas, and state Sen. Mike Bishop of Rochester Hills. The event was organized by the Rev. Sylvester Thompson of Pontiac’s Messiah Missionary Church.

The summit’s mission statement called for diverse groups to come together for a “common, coordinated purpose of obtaining community support for complex issues facing the City.”

It was a chance for representatives of governmental agencies to start a conversation with each other, creating relationships and ideas that could last after the Summit ended. It also created the opportunity for local residents to sound off about their concerns in the community.

Topics of much discussion included healthcare for women, re-introducing the incarcerated into the community, and parenting in the 21st century.  Groups studying each focus area created five recommendations to address a specific challenge facing the Pontiac community. The groups will meet in six months to report on their progress.

“The Summit clearly demonstrated the pride that residents have in their community,” Oakland County Planning Supervisor Bret Raesgan said. “The input that was gathered and the recommendations generated are outstanding.”

In one month, results and goals for the Pontiac Summit will be placed on the Web site http://www.pontiacsummit.com/.