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LANSING, Michigan - The Michigan Municipal League has simplified the presentation process to keep this program accessible, as well as relocated the first round to our member's Regional Roundtable sessions during our Capital Conference in Lansing March 20, 2012. The League recognizes innovative solutions through the peer-nominated Community Excellence Award, a spirited competition we affectionately call “The Race for the Cup.”All Community Excellence Award (CEA) presentations will be limited to an “elevator pitch” format and will be presented at their Roundtable on March 20, 2012. Communities entering will have five minutes to passionately present their project—no videos, no PowerPoints, nothing but your project and power of persuasion! Regional winners, who will be voted on by their peers on March 20, will compete at our Annual Convention and typically prepare more spectacular videos and/or PowerPoint presentations for that venue.Matt Bach is director of communications for the Michigan Municipal League. He can be reached at email@example.com or (734) 669-6317.
Officials from Clare's Cop & Donuts Business celebrate winning the 2011 Community Excellence Award.
A media-savvy placemaking campaign called "Uncork Paw Paw" earned top honors as the Region 2 Community Excellence Award winner, at the Region 2 League Tour stop in East Lansing on Friday, May 20.
According to Paw Paw Village Manager Larry Nielsen, the community decided to build on its sense of place as a wine country destination, by launching a market and cluster analysis to identify a target audience and devise an effective strategy for promoting the region. At the same time, they created a proactive support system for new entrepreneurship and existing businesses, giving out more than $400,000 in grants in the past three years for everything from education and training to building facade and interior improvements.
The marketing analysis determined there are about 54,000 homes within 20 minutes of Paw Paw, and 114,000 within 30 minutes. They used that data to build an effective marketing strategy that reached 79 percent of 2010 festival attendees in the target region outside the Paw Paw zip code. Paw Paw's annual schedule of lakeside concerts and blockbuster events include an annual Wine & Harvest Festival, Harvest Moon Exgtravaganza, Art Hop and a vintage ball club. It has all added up to create a unique sense of place in Paw Paw as a wine country destination. The result: Paw Paw has added 27 new businesses, with another 43 renovated or expanded.
In receiving the award, Nielsen said he was gratified but more importantly, hoped it would serve as a do-able example for other communities seeking to build a sense of place based on their own unique assets.
"The recognition by your peers is always nice, but what I'm really excited about is that this is the type of program that many communities can easily do to capitalize on their assets, and find the same great success that we have," said Nielsen.
Paw Paw competed against five other impressive projects: the city of Adrian's "Rebirth of a Downtown" detailed the historic rise, fall and rebirth of the city's downtown; Coldwater presented its Connections Art Festival, a month-long series of events and programs that show the rewards of cultural economic development; Delhi Charter Township showed a video detailing how "Greening Delhi" has included a state-of-the-art biomass converter, aggressive and comprehensive recycling programs and other front-line green initiatives; Mason's city staff proudly presented its new city hall, the city's first truly "green" municipal building; and Tecumseh offered "Lean and Mean," an innovative, low-cost program to engage the community's youth by giving them cameras to shoot images of the community's best and worst features, then using that to launch a series of initiatives.
"Each project has its own merits so it's very, very difficult to choose," said League Board President and Alpena Mayor Carol Shafto, in praising the impressive array of presentations.
Paw Paw will now go on to compete against the other six regional winners for the statewide CEA at the League's Annual Convention Oct. 4-7 in Grand Rapids.
Check back later for more Tour news on the Region 2 Education Seminar!
The Michigan Municipal League is doing a statewide tour beating the drum loud and clear to make sure both our legislative leaders and our citizens understand Why Place Matters. The League's MML Tour (also on Twitter at #mmltour) is what we're calling our regional seminars leading up to our annual Convention, takng place Oct. 4-7, 2011 in Grand Rapids. But we need YOUR voice if we want to be heard above the background noise. This year we’ve seen a shift in legislative priorities and attitude that threatens the ability of local leaders to drive the change our communities need to compete on a national scale in the 21st century. That’s why we’re Taking it to the Streets at this year’s Convention. Our impassioned presenters are bringing a powerful message on how YOU can find your rhythm in today’s embattled economy. It’s time for Michigan municipalities to band together and show the world we are the people and places of Michigan. Sign up today for the tour stop near your community.This "MML Tour" is an exciting theme for what is destined to be an exciting Convention. Not only is Convention taking place in the same city and at the same time as ArtPrize (one of the state's fastest growing events), but it's also where the League membrs will select the Community Excellence Award winner.The Regional meetings kick off Wednesday, May 4, 2011 in Kalkaska and they give Michigan Municipal League members a chance to hear from League staff and state officials about the latest municipal-related legislation in Lansing and ways communities are becoming the types of areas where people want to live, work and play. Registration remains open for all the regionals. The other regional metings are Friday, May 4, in Hamtramck; Ludington (May 11), Marine City (May 18), East Lansing (May 20), Houghton (May 26-27) and Saginaw (June 1). View the full regional schedule here. Then be sure to attend our Convention this fall in Grand Rapids. Remember Inspire. Innovate. Engage. Empower. Four days in October. That’s all it takes to put the power back in your hands.
Matt Bach is director of communications fr the Michigan Municipal League. He ca be reached at (734) 669-6317 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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