Ludington city manager ready for challenges, glad to be back in west Michigan.

April 2, 2019

Mitch Foster

Ludington city manager ready for challenges, glad to be back in west Michigan.


By Rob Alway, Editor-in-Chief.

LUDINGTON — Mitch Foster has been on the job as city manager since March 18. Entering into week three, he’s learning many aspects of the community. He is also glad to be back in west Michigan, and specifically Mason County, where he grew up.

“West Michigan has its own kind of tempo,” he said. “Once you get up north things seem to slow down a bit and people are more neighborly. Ludington is a great community with a lot going for it. There are some challenges and some pretty cool opportunities. The council, mayor, and staff in the city are all great people and the citizens are wonderful.”

Foster grew up in Scottville, living there from the age of 4 to 16 and attended Mason County Central Schools during that time. His parents, Dave and Jody Foster, owned Foster’s Market. After the store closed, the family moved to Big Rapids, where he graduated from high school. He then attended University of Nevada-Reno where he received a bachelor’s degree in political science and government and a master’s degree in public administration.

He has served as a special projects intern for the City of Evart, management intern at Washoe County, Nev., manager of the Village of Kingsley, and most recently, administrator of the Village of Winneconne, Wis.

Ludington’s year-round population is about three times more than Winneconne, and even larger during the summer tourist season. “There are some similarities between the two towns. Winneconne is located in between Lake Winneconne and Lake Butte des Morts near Oshkosh and Manitowoc in WInnebago County.

Foster said there are several items he knows he will be facing in the near future.

“We have a veteran staff at city hall. They are great people but there is going to be some significant turnover in the next five or six years as people retire. We will be making a succession plan a high priority. That’s going to be a big change but a good one. We will be setting the next generation up for success.”

Foster said major projects include the completion of updates at the water treatment plant, the start of updates at the waste water treatment plants, the re-build of the west end of Ludington Avenue and the Copeyon Park splash pad. He said he wants to the city’s government to be more open about how it communicates with the residents, much of which will take place with a greater social media presence.

“One of the major issues this town faces is the need to update infrastructure,” he said. “Our infrastructure needs outweigh the amount of revenue this city brings in, and has for many years. It’s time we have some serious, frank, and open discussions with the public on what we need to do. I am very passionate about sustainable cities and people may not like the conversation but we are going to have to have them if we are going to be economically solvent over the next couple of generations.

This story is copyrighted © 2019, all rights reserved by Media Group 31, LLC, PO Box 21, Scottville, MI 49454. No portion of this story or images may be reproduced in any way, including print or broadcast, without expressed written consent.

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