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Hamtramck was the location for the Region 1 meeting held on Friday May 6th. Local officials from across Southeast Michigan gathered on what was to be the start of a beautiful spring weekend.
The meeting was opened with a welcome by Hamtramck Mayor and League Vice-President Karen Majewski. who welcomed all the participants to what is surely one of the most diverse communities in Michigan. That was followed by a presentation by League CEO and Exeuctive Director, Dan Gilmartin on the political climate in Lansing. That issue was also addressed by Alpena Mayor and League President Carol Shafto during the lunch. League Associate Executive Director and COO, Tony Minghine, followed the luncheon with a disucssion on current trends and issues in municipal finance. And League Legislative Associate, Samantha Harkins finished the day with a legislative update that featured a question and answer session with former League President's and now state representatives, Vicki Barnett of Farmington Hills and Woodrow Stanley of Flint.
The afternoon was also highlighted by presentations from Lathrup Village and Ypsilanti, both of who are pilot project partiicpants under the League's "Center for 21st Century Communities" program. Lathrup Village is working on a complete streets ordinance, buoyed by a walkability study done by internationally walkability expert, Dan Burden. Lathrup Village has also put in place a form based code. All of this is in anticipation of one day fufilling the "city center" concept originally designed when the city of Lathrup Village was incorporated. Ypsilanti, which lost four of its largest industries over a 10 year period has seen a number of small businesses open in the downtown area. This has prompted the city to concentrate on economic gardening and working with organizations such as Ann Arbor Spark to place a business incuabator in the downtown area. The city continues to work on developing entrepreneurs, now building capcity with its local farmers market.
Of course, a region meeting wouldn't be complete with presentations for the League's Community Excellence Award. And, after a initial three-way tie, Southfield's Field Zone won the day. See the related story on this and the other entries at Region 1.
And be sure to catch this year's "MML Tour" at regional meetings across the state this spring. . For more on the MML Tour go here: http://www.mml.org/events/mmltour/; and on Twitter at #mmltour. The Regional Meetings 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. The League is still accepting registrations from members for upcoming regional meetings 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.
Arnold Weinfeld is Director of Strategic Initiatives and Federal Affairs for the Michigan Municipal League. He can be reached at 517-908-0304 or by e-mail.
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