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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?
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.
March 20-21 is coming fast, and League staff has been hard at work planning for the 2012 Capital Conference at the Lansing Center in Lansing. Here are the pre-conference sessions we are offering:
Recreation AUthorities and Other Funding for Parks and Recreation
Most Common Open Meetings Act and Freedom of Information Act Mistakes
Creative Consolidation: The Steps to Success In Shared Services
Saving Our Children - The Community's Role in Suicide Prevention
Michigan Association of Municipal Attorneys (MAMA) 26th Annual Advanced Institute
During the Conference, we are planning an action-packed agenda of exciting and educational programs. Plus we'll unveil the new Regional Roundtables featuring the 2012 Community Excellence Award presentations. Don't miss this opportunity to hear the latest on all the key state and federal issues that impact your community!
A true collaborative effort between local government and the business community has revitalized the historic downtown at the heart of West Branch. Like CreateHere co-founder Helen Johnson's placemaking presentation at Convention, West Branch's Fabulous Fridays program shows how grassroots community-based efforts can fuel economic growth and reenergize the historic downtowns that were once at the heart of every city, village and town. This CEA finalist demonstrates how business and government working together can help our downtowns to once again become the "place" that helps define a community.
West Branch's Fabulous Fridays started a few years ago and has cranked up the city's historic downtown economy with themed Fridays, including a very popular Gong Show and Classic Chassis car show. More than 14,000 people attended over the last three summers and business is up 10-15 percent annually in the small town. The Fabulous Fridays increase the exposure to the downtown business district in the city and has generated a lot of interest in West Branch overall. It also brings back that clasic small town feel of a true community gathering.
A media-savvy placemaking campaign called "Uncork Paw Paw" earned top honors as the Region 2 Community Excellence Award winner back in May 2011, and was one of the seven outstanding presentations at the League Convention in October. It's an outstanding example of placemaking, and of how a community can partner with business and foster entrepreneurship in a mutually beneficial relationship. (To learn more about fostering entrepreneurship, click here to watch Dr. Ernesto Sirolli's presentation.)
According to Paw Paw Village Manager Larry Nielsen, the community built its sense of place as a wine country destination. They first launched 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.
"Uncork Paw Paw" is a do-able example for other communities seeking to build a sense of place based on their own unique assets.
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