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Press Release

May 13, 2011

CONTACT:   Matt Bach
Dir. of Communications
Michigan Municipal League
(734) 669-6317 or

Ludington Wins Region 3 Community Excellence Award in League Competition

New Year's Eve Ball Drop Now in Running for Statewide Community Excellence Award

ludington cea
Ludington Mayor John Henderson receives the Region 3 Community Excellence Award from Alpena Mayor and League Board President Carol Shafto. View and download additional photos from this event here.

LUDINGTON, Michigan (May 13, 2011) - A wintertime event that has given an economic boost to the waterfront community of Ludington won the Region 3 Community Excellence Award (CEA) Wednesday (May 11, 2011). As the Region 3 winner, Ludington now has a chance to win the statewide CEA in the Michigan Municipal League’s “Race for the Cup” competition. Read more about this peer-selected “Race for the Cup” contest that recognizes outstanding community services, projects and programs.

Ludington, located off Lake Michigan between Muskegon and Traverse City, was one of three communities vying for the Region 3 CEA title. Also in the running were Kentwood’s new city library, presented by Kentwood Mayor Richard Root and Kentwood Deputy Library Director Jim Dewald Jr.; and Reed City’s collaboration in economic development initiatives with the surrounding township, presented by Reed City Manager Ron Marek.

Ludington Mayor John Henderson said his community is known more as a lakefront, summertime vacation destination. In an effort to boost the city’s winter activities, it started a New Year’s Eve Ball Drop.  The event has quickly grown and annually attracts thousands of people to the New Year’s Eve celebration that also includes a short fireworks show.

“For the first year, we planned on having 750 attend and we ended up with 5,000,” said Henderson. “Then in our second year, we had just under 10,000.”

The ball itself is six feet, five inches in diameter and is lit by 6,000 LED lights. It is believed to be the biggest ball in Michigan, said Ludington Mayor John Henderson. Employees of GLC Metal Fabricators and Harsco were responsible for making the ball, and Tye Signs did the lights. There are four different color lights which blink as it's lowered.

“We’re very excited to have earned this award,” Mayor Henderson said. “It’s nice to be recognized by our fellow communities, and we definitely had some stiff competition. We feel honored to represent our region in this Community Excellence Award program.”

League Board President and Alpena Mayor Carol Shafto said she was impressed with the range of projects presented at the Region 3 Education Seminar.

“All three projects are excellent, and as in most regions it has become very difficult to select the winner,” said Shafto. “Because the projects are so different, they're each excellent in their own way; it's difficult to compare and choose when each have something excellent to bring to the table.”

Ludington will now compete for the statewide CEA honor (against the CEA winners of the other six regions) during the League’s Annual Convention Oct. 4-7, 2011 in Grand Rapids. Register online for the 2011 Convention starting June 1. Other Regional winners so far were West Branch (Region 6), and Southfield (Region 1).

This year’s Convention will cap off a several months long “MML Tour” that began in Kalkaska with the Region 6 seminar. For more on the MML Tour go here; and follow the tour 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 in Marine City (May 18), East Lansing (May 20), Houghton (May 26-27), and Saginaw (June 1). View the full regional schedule here.

ludington cea

For more information contact, Matt Bach, communications director for the Michigan Municipal League at (734) 669-6317 or


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.




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