Caro Community Schools purchase billboard to show support for Caro Center
(04/24/19) -- If you drive along M-81 in Tuscola County, you'll notice at Kirk Road, there's a billboard that reads 'Gov. Whitmer, Keep The Promise, Keep it Here.'
Caro Community Schools purchased the billboard to make their message clear that the Caro Center project needs to stay in Tuscola County.
"Well we wanna get people's attention," said Caro Community Schools Superintendent Pete Newman.
"This is a devastating decision that would have long term negative impacts on school funding and on the economy. Not just in Caro, but in the region," he said.
Newman says enrollment is already down within the school district since 2010, and it doesn't need to get any worse.
"Getting the word out has been important, but the one thing that's also important is that if you don't call Lansing, if you don't speak to your representatives and if you're not heard on these issues, they're assuming you don't care."
ABC12 spoke with Caro City Manager Michael Silverman, who backed the billboard and is in full support of keeping the project in the county.
"It would be devastating to our community. It's $54 million in economic development tied to this project and it's been here for over 100 years, so it's vital that this project stays here," Silverman said.
Governor Whitmer's administration halted the project first announced under former governor Rick Snyder.
"Fear. Anxiety. I went to the city council meeting, which was held shortly after that announcement was made and people were spilling out of the board room," Newman said.
A nearby resident we spoke with also agrees that the project needs to stay in the county, not only to keep hundreds of jobs, but to address mental health.
"We need to have a location like this. There's such a need for mental illness. We can't ignore the fact that there is that need and to have it here in our own community is just a win-win," said Vassar resident Becky Squanda.
Two additional billboards have been purchased by Caro Community Schools, including one in Lansing. Newman's hope is to have Governor Whitmer see it on her way to work, in hopes of her changing her mind about the project.
State Representative Phil Green is encouraging residents to let their voices be heard by signing a petition that is circulating to keep the project in the county.
For a link to that petition, click on the 'related links' section on the right side or bottom of this page.