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This is a Press Release From the LIAA:

Oct 15, 2010

CONTACT:   Joe VanderMeulen, Ph.D.
Executive Director, LIAA
324 Munson Avenue
Traverse City, MI 49686

Four New Communities Selected to Partnerships for Change Program

New Service grants will assure innovative cooperation and collaboration between cities, townships and villages in fo9ur more communities across Michigan.


Traverse City, Michigan (October 14, 2010) – The Traverse City-based nonprofit LIAA announced today that service grants valued at over $100,000 have been awarded to four new Michigan communities to expand cooperation between local units of government.

Partnering jurisdictions in Wexford and Van Buren counties and the communities of Niles and Quincy were awarded the grants under Partnerships for Change (PfC), an innovative community planning and technical assistance program. Administered by LIAA, the PfC program fosters new and expanded collaboration between counties, cities, townships and villages to preserve community character, reduce government inefficiencies, and improve the quality of life for all citizens.

Since 2004, well over $1 million in PfCservice grants have been awarded to more than 30 geographically dispersed communities throughout Michigan, encompassing over 130 local governments and touching the lives of more than 1 million people living in the participating communities. The latest projects are being leveraged with grants from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the C.S. Mott Foundation, and the Coastal Management Program (Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment, DNRE), as well as direct financial contributions from the Michigan Municipal League (MML) and the Michigan Townships Association (MTA).

“Experts increasingly warn that the lack of multi-jurisdictional cooperation in land-use planning is damaging our communities and threatening our future prosperity,” said Joe VanderMeulen, executive director of LIAA. “The Partnerships for Change program responds to these threats by helping communities preserve their cultural and natural resources, encourage urban redevelopment, and achieve more efficient economic development through inter-jurisdictional cooperation.”

The four newest PfC project communities have targeted a variety of inter-jurisdictional efforts:

  • In the Quincy Community, the village and township will work to develop a joint master plan.

  • The Cadillac/Wexford County Community will conduct a feasibility study on area-wide recreational collaboration.

  • Partners in the Niles Community — including the City of Niles, Niles Charter Township, and the Southwestern Michigan Economic Growth Alliance — seek a cohesive joint corridor development plan.

  • The Van Buren Community will leverage its service grant to design and conduct several inter-jurisdictional goal-setting summits throughout Van Buren County.

The Partnerships for Change program was developed by LIAA, MML and MTA with support from Michigan State University Extension (MSUE) and the Michigan Association of Planning (MAP). Administered by LIAA, PfC has been funded by grants from the Americana Foundation, C.S. Mott Foundation, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the DNRE’s Coastal Management Program, MML, and MTA.

LIAA has also released a short summary report describing the Partnerships for Change program and its impacts throughout Michigan. The new report, Changing the Way Governments Work — Six Years of Breaking New Ground, is available online at or by calling LIAA at 231-929-3696.

To learn more about the Partnerships for Change program, including grant opportunities, community case studies and more, please visit or call LIAA at 231-929-3696.


Joe VanderMeulen, Ph.D.
Executive Director
324 Munson Avenue
Traverse City, MI 49686





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