With little fanfare, a torch was passed this week and an important period of history for the city of Houghton came to an end.
Long-time city manager Scott MacInnes attended a city council meeting for the last time in that capacity. MacInnes, son of legendary hockey coach, the late John MacInnes, has been with the city for 40 years, 17 as assistant city manager before becoming city manager in 1997. MacInnes, who will remain with the city in some capacity until later this year, has left a mark on the Copper County as significant and indelible as the one his father left on college hockey.
In all fairness, MacInnes didn't put the city of Houghton "on the map." But he put it on a higher plane. Through diligence, an ability to bridge the gap between local communities and Lansing, compromise and an uncanny knack for promotion MacInnes saw Houghton thrive when most communities its size in Michigan were struggling to survive.
It's said when life gives you lemons, make lemonade. That's exactly what he did with the 200-plus inches of snow that annually falls on his city. MacInnes made snow a reason to celebrate with events such as the Yooper Luge and Jibba Jabba, turning the downtown into a winter playground.
Under his watch the city's downtown became rejuvenated with numerous attractions throughout the year from art festivals, concerts and family promotions.
For us, MacInnes' crowning achievement will always be the downtown Houghton streetscape project of a few years back.
With at least part of the city's main street turned into a bug ditch throughout the summer, he helped turn what could have been a nightmare into a dream.
With cooperation between the city, the state and local merchants the downtown not only thrived during the construction, but planted the seeds for events and promotion that look to be part of the city for years to come.
What also sets him apart is his willingness to share Houghton's story with the rest of the state. He has traveled statewide on numerous occasions letting cities and villages know Houghton's success can be theirs as well.
With his continued employment with the city, the time to say goodbye to Scott MacInnes is still a little way off. But when the time does come to say goodbye we will do so with the knowledge his impact on the City of Houghton will never fade away.