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Utica to Compete for Community Excellence Award at League Convention in October

clock July 23, 2012 14:44 by author Elizabeth Shaw

Utica Mayor Jacqueline Noonan accepts the Region 1 CEA Award at the League's 2012 Capital Conference in March.View and download additional photos of the 2012 CEA finalists.

Seven projects from around the state will be vying for top honors in the Michigan Municipal League's Community Excellence Award competition October 3-5 at the League's 2012 Annual Convention on Mackinac Island.

Region 1 (all communities in the southeast portion of the state's Lower Peninsula) will be represented by Utica's Riverwalk project, which was funded by the Downtown Development Authority, envisioned by Mayor Jacqueline Noonan, and brought to reality by the city's Department of Public Works. The Riverwalk is both an economic driver and a prime example of placemaking: an asset that connects the city's Memorial Park and historic Main Street with Auburn Road and its unique riverfront.

Utica will now compete against the other six regional winners (Alpena, Baroda, Bessemer, Durand, Grandville, and Port Huron) for the statewide CEA at the League’s Annual Convention Oct. 3-5 on Mackinac Island. The CEA program, affectionately called “The Race for the Cup,” was started by the League in 2007 to recognize innovative solutions taking place in Michigan’s cities, villages and urban townships.

Only Convention-goers may vote on the CEA winners so make sure to support your region by attending. Register now!

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26th Annual MAMA Advanced Institute

clock March 21, 2012 06:18 by author Elizabeth Shaw

Attorneys from around the state gathered for the 26th annual MAMA Advanced Institute at the Lansing Center in Lansing during the preconference sessions of the Michigan Municipal League Capital Conference 2012.

Among the full day's agenda were a wide variety of topics of interest to municipal attorneys, including how to avoid or resolve construction claims, dealing with mergers and consolidations, digital case management and administrative support systems, municipal law enforcement, FOIA vs discovery, and an update on the Michigan Court of Appeals.

The Honorable Elizabeth Gleicher, Michigan Court of Appeals, was a featured speaker, offering insights from a judge's perspective on how to create better briefs using the principles of brevity to create reader-friendly text that incorporates short sentences, paragraph breaks, clear concepts, active language and other simple common-sense writing tools and strategies.

Holland City Attorney Andy Mulder, who gave the Michigan Court of Appeals Update, was also honored with a Years of Service Award.

To see more photos from the event, go to the League's flickr page and search MAMA Advanced Institute within the Capital Conference 2012 set.

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Recreation Authorities and Other Funding Mechanisms for Parks and Recreation

clock March 21, 2012 05:57 by author Elizabeth Shaw

A packed room was on hand to learn how parks and recreation can play an important role in creating a sense of place and enhancing the quality of life for residents--and just as importantly, how to find creative funding and form cooperative efforts to build and maintain these assets that are often the place where visitors and newcomers alike develop some of their strongest impressions of a community and its liveability. 

Understanding your demographics is key in knowing the changing needs of residents, such as the "silver tsunami" of aging Baby Boomers, who are reaching retirement age between 2011-2029. This new generation of seniors is younger, healthier and more active, and interested in living somewhere they can pursue an active social life, from pickleball leagues to trails and bike paths.

Embracing a community's cultural diversity can also help officials identify new recreational needs such as Canton's building of two cricket fields in response to residents' interest in a sport that is nontraditional in the US.

Dog parks are a hot new trend and are a fantastic opportunity to encourage community engagement. Their real purpose is adult socialization among a new generation of dog owners who are passionate about their pets and want to include them in their social life. Due to the enthusiastic grassroots support of pet owners in the community, Canton built a first-class new dog park without a single tax dollar.

Parks and recreational facilities can also help create a sense of place, such as the way Charlotte, NC has parlayed its recreational assets into an image as a national whitewater center.

The workshop was just one of the great preconference sessions at the League's Capital Conference. To see more photos from this and other events, visit the League's flickr page.

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Capital Conference Pre-Conference Workshops Start This Morning

clock March 20, 2012 07:26 by author Elizabeth Shaw

The Michigan Municipal League 2012 Capital Conference begins at 9 am today with several interesting and informative workshops at the Lansing Center. Recreation Authorities & Other Funding for Parks & Rec is in Room 202. Most Common OMA and FOIA Mistakes and How to Avoid Them is in Room 205. Creative Consolidation: Success in Shared Services is in Room 204. The MAMA Advanced Institute is 9 am - 4:30 pm in Room 201, with the League Board of Trustees Meeting from 10 am - 1 pm at the League Capital Office.

The Governance Committee Meeting is 1:15-2:15 pm in Rooms 103-104.

Welcoming General Session starts at 2:30pm and features a discussion on the personal property tax issue with Lt. Gov. Brian Calley. This is a hot topic of concern to many League communities at risk of losing this crucial revenue source for local services, unless the legislature provides a guaranteed replacement. The general session is your chance to hear firsthand from the Lt. Governor on where this issue is headed.

Don't forget the Regional Roundtables at 3:45 pm, where you'll get a chance to hear and present entries for the annual Community Excellence Award competition. This year the process starts with a casual five-minute talk in front of your region, describing what your community's project has accomplished and how it's benefitted your city or village and its residents. Check the program or the League's Capital Conference apps for Android or iPhone to find out in which room your region meeting is taking place.

The day finishes up with the MML Liability & Property Pool Kick-Off party at 5:30 pm in Hall A.

Onsite registration and packet pick-up is open in the Central hallway from noon to 6 pm.

Welcome, everyone! Check back here on the Capital Conference blog, follow the event on Twitter at hashtag #mmlconf, and check out event photos on flickr throughout the next two days.

To stay up to date on the latest news from Capital Conference, read the Capital Conference blog or go to the League’s website at mml.org. Want to be sure you know what's happening as it happens? Follow the Capital Conference Twitter feed by searching the hashtag #mmlconf. Want to see photos from the event? We'll be posting them throughout the event on the League's flickr page.

Go here for the full agenda that covers everything from brownfield tax credits to green government to Lt. Gov. Brian Calley discussing the personal property tax issue.

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Deadline for Online Registration for Michigan Municipal League Capital Conference is March 12

clock March 7, 2012 06:39 by author Elizabeth Shaw

If you've been planning to register for the League's upcoming Capital Conference March 20-21 in Lansing but have kept putting it off until you "have the time"...well, that time is running out fast! Online Registration ends Monday, March 12! This could also be the perfect year to enter the annual Community Excellence Awards! All you have to do is stand up at your Regional Roundtable and give a simple five-minute talk on the success your community has had with some unique, innovative program or project. Maybe it's a community effort, a new marketing campaign, a downtown revitalization project or a new operations system that makes your government offices run more smoothly. It could be anything! Don't be intimidated by the impressive slideshows and video productions you see during the final round at Convention -- you won't need to do anything right now except tell your fellow region members about your project. Then if you win your region, we'll send out press releases and help spread the word to your local media about your community's success. All because of a simple five-minute speech!

Then you'll have six full months to prepare to show off your best and brightest at the League Convention at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island! Can you think of a more perfect setting to tell the whole state about what your community has accomplished?

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