As was reported by Kurt Hauglie in Thursday's Daily Mining Gazette, due to financial difficulties, the board of directors of Main Street Calumet has made the difficult decision to let executive director Tom Tikkanen go.
Over the past several years Main Street Calumet has either directly or indirectly been responsible for business development, infrastructure improvement, tourism development through a variety of community events and generally improving the business climate of the downtown era. We feel the involvement of Tom Tikkanen in the creation and development of Main Street Calumet and its subsequent successes cannot be overstated.
Consider that through Main Street's partnerships nearly two dozen businesses have been established with nearly as many commercial buildings purchased. All in an economic environment that had been in steady decline for years.
The efforts of Tikkanen and Main Street Calumet have resulted in the creation of dozens of new jobs, millions in infrastructure improvement and building rehabilitation and nearly five and a half million dollars in private investment.
The efforts of Tikkanen and Main Street have not gone unnoticed beyond the village limits. Main Street Calumet has been the recipient of the Governor's Award for Historic Preservation and Tikkanen himself was honored as the Main Street Manager of the year in the State of Michigan. An honor, we feel, that could have been bestowed on him several times.
Highly-successful annual events such as PastyFest, Heritage Celebration, Red Jacket Radio and the Copper Dog 150 can all trace their roots to Main Street Calumet and Tom Tikkanen.
Tom stayed at the helm much longer than his initial three-year contract required. He stayed out of sense of commitment and loyalty, attributes that are far too rare in today's business and government arenas.
We're sure this parting of the ways was not the way Tikkanen and the Main Street Board would have liked it to end. However, as has been the case during his entire tenure with the organization, Tikkanen handled his departure with dignity and grace.
We'd like to wish Tom Tikkanen the best of luck in all his future endeavors and sincerely thank him for everything he did providing outstanding leadership to Main Street Calumet. His impact has extended far beyond the home town he loves so much.