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CONTACT: Matt Bach
Monroe Wins Regional Competition; Community Now in Running for Statewide Community Excellence Award
EASTPOINTE, Michigan - A Monroe, Michigan, project that’s turning an old, deserted industrial site into a new national park was selected Wednesday as a regional finalist in a statewide competition that recognizes outstanding community services, projects and programs.
The City of Monroe won the peer-selected honor in a spirited competition among three other neighboring communities. It will now compete for the statewide community excellence award that will be announced during the Michigan Municipal League’s Annual Convention Sept. 21-24, 2010, in Dearborn. Monroe’s program is the transformation of an entryway of the city from a blighted, industrial site into the River Raisin Battlefield National Park. President Barack Obama designated the area as a national park on March 30, 2009, and work is now underway to make it happen, said Monroe Mayor Robert Clark. The area is the site of a significant battlefield during the War of 1812 and it later housed a paper mill for several decades.
“We have a battlefield that saw the greatest loss of life in the entire War of 1812 and it was in Monroe, Michigan,” Clark said. “People don’t know that. What’s great about the project is that it not only dramatically improves a portion of our city, but it also will be connected by a walking trail to our downtown district and a nearby state park.”
Monroe Planning and Recreation Department Director Jeffrey Green said while most communities don’t have a historic battlefield to build upon, they can use many of the same economic-development tools that Monroe utilized, such as grants, loans and Brownfield redevelopment. The project also is expected to boost the area economy and already a new residential development has started nearby.
Other regional finalists were:
“All of the nominations were excellent, but I especially liked how they each represented a different asset that make for a viable community,” said League President Jeff Jenks. Jenks explained the League has identified eight assets that make strong communities. The Garden City nomination represented regional service sharing; the Monroe project represented historic preservation; the Howell program represented transportation; and the Eastpointe presentation represented multiculturalism.
The finalist was selected Wednesday, May 5, 2010, during a Michigan Municipal League educational seminar in Eastpointe. Southeast Michigan communities represented at the meeting were the cities of Berkley, Center Line, Dearborn, Eastpointe, Garden City, Grosse Pointe Woods, Hamtramck, Howell, Huntington Woods, Inkster, Madison Heights, Monroe, Mount Clemens, New Baltimore, Plymouth, Roseville, Southfield, Sterling Heights, Troy, Utica and Wayne.
The Michigan Municipal League advocates on behalf of its member communities in Lansing, Washington D.C. and the courts; provides educational opportunities for elected and appointed municipal officials; and assists municipal leaders in administering services to their communities through League programs and services. For more information, visit www.mml.org.
View photos from the Region 1 education seminar.
Read a blog post about the Region 1 seminar.