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Press Release


Contact:
Matt Bach, Director of Media Relations
Michigan Municipal League
(734) 669-6317; C (810) 874-1073
mbach@mml.org; www.mml.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Oct. 17, 2014

Harbor Beach Dredging Project Wins Michigan Municipal League's 2014 Community Excellence Award

MARQUETTE, Michigan – The community of Harbor Beach in the state’s Thumb was honored with the Michigan Municipal League’s 2014 Community Excellence Award on Oct. 17, 2014, at the League’s Annual Convention in Marquette.

The peer-nominated Community Excellence Award (CEA), affectionately called “The Race for the Cup,” was started by the League in 2007 to recognize innovative solutions taking place in Michigan’s cities, villages and urban townships. It’s the highest and most prestigious award bestowed by the statewide League.

Harbor Beach won for its innovative, self-performed dredging project and it’s the first community from the League’s Region 5, which encompasses communities in the state’s Thumb, to ever win the statewide title.

“We are very honored to be selected by our peer communities to win the Community Excellence Award,” said Harbor Beach Mayor Pro Tem Al Kleinknecht. “Our self-performed dredging project showed what can happen when you want to get something done and try to figure out best way to do it and this was the best way to do it. It got the job done.”

With water levels on the Great Lakes being so low the past two summers, many communities like Harbor Beach had to do emergency dredging in order to accommodate boats in its municipal marina. The city owns and operates a 114-slip marina on Lake Huron in the thumb of Michigan. Harbor Beach received grant funding assistance from the Department of Natural Resources-Waterways to do the dredging. The city administered the dredging project using its own equipment and personnel. View a full press release on this page: http://www.mml.org/newsroom/index.html  and photos here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/michigancommunities/sets/72157647848319418.

Accepting the award during the League’s Convention today in Marquette were Kleinknecht, Sam Capling, city council member, and Clark Ramsey, a member of the city planning commission, who also led the seven-minute presentation for Harbor Beach.

Harbor Beach competed for the statewide title against finalists from five other Michigan regions: Region 1: Fenton’s Fire Hall project; Region 2: Metro Connection-Greater Lansing Shared Services Fire Initiative project submitted by six Lansing-area jurisdictions; Region 3: Grandville’s downtown streetscape project; Region 6: Cadillac’s bicycle rental project called Bike Cadillac!; Region 7: Galdstone After School Ski Hill Program. Region 4 did not have a finalist this year competing at the statewide level.

Summaries of the six finalist projects are pasted below and can be found online here: http://blogs.mml.org/wp/events/community-excellence-awards/.

For past CEA winners, click here. (http://www.mml.org/awards/cea.html#past)

For photos of the CEA winners go to this Michigan Municipal League set on flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/michigancommunities/sets/72157647848319418. Photos can be downloaded from the League’s flickr page for free. We just ask that the following photo credit be given: Flickr photo/Michigan Municipal League (mml.org).

Regional finalists in more detail:

Region 1: Fenton Fire Hall: The city of Fenton had a historic fire hall in the heart of its downtown that was no longer in use and had stood vacant for 10 years. The city of Fenton and Downtown Development Authority established a partnership with a nationally recognized restaurant group, called Union Joints, which focuses on converting historic buildings into eating establishments. The Fenton Fire Hall restaurant is now an extremely popular and successful destination point for people from miles around the Fenton area. Region 1 includes all communities in the southeastern portion of the state’s Lower Peninsula. View a full press release and photos.

Region 2: Metro Connection–Greater Lansing Shared Services Fire Initiative: Six Lansing-area jurisdictions participated in a shared public services study that has led to unprecedented trust building, costs savings and efficiencies between the fire departments from the cities of Lansing and East Lansing and townships of Meridian, Lansing, Delta and Delhi. Region 2 includes all communities in the south-central and southwestern portions of the Lower Peninsula. View a full press release and photos.

Region 3: Grandville’s downtown streetscape project: A vibrant downtown and a sense of place are crucial to a community’s identity and health. Grandville is one of the few Grand Rapids inner-ring suburbs that still has a traditional downtown, but its downtown was becoming more aged and losing many of its key attributes. A recent streetscape project created a more pedestrian-friendly downtown by improving parking, walkability and revitalizing the downtown core. Work included giving Chicago Drive, a former state trunkline, a road diet by narrowing it down from four to two lanes with a center turn lane, adding on-street parking, benches, banners, flower pots and brick pavers, as well as burying power lines under the street. Since the completion of the work, several new businesses have opened in the area, including Grandville’s first microbrewery, and new downtown community events have successfully started and drawn more people to the city. Region 3 includes all communities in the west-central area of the state’s Lower Peninsula. View a full press release and photos.

Region 4: None

Region 6: Cadillac’s bicycle rental project called Bike Cadillac!: The city of Cadillac has put to use the many abandoned and unclaimed bicycles the police department has collected over the past several years. The city takes these bikes, has them refurbished if needed, places decals on them, provides locks, and then rents them for free to visitors and residents in the Cadillac area. People use the bikes on city trails, paths, and roads to travel around Lake Cadillac, visit Mitchell State Park and the Carl T. Johnson Hunting and Fishing Museum, and/or travel to downtown Cadillac. The exciting and innovative program started in 2013 through a partnership with Mitchell State Park, which is the location of the bike station. The program was a very popular and successful endeavor and plans are now underway to expand it. View a full press release and photos.

Region 7: Gladstone After School Ski Hill Program: The Upper Peninsula city of Gladstone is known as the “year-round playground” which conveys the great quality of life and sense of place enjoyed by our residents and visitors. Up to 70 kids a day attend the city’s after-school ski hill program. Students from Gladstone and surrounding schools can ride a bus three days a week to the city’s ski hill where they receive a healthy snack and homework assistance. At 4 pm they can tube, snowboard or ski. Equipment is provided as needed and lessons provided by the hill’s student/city employees. This program addresses latch-key issues, educational support, healthy eating and exercise, personal growth in skills and self-confidence, as well as employment and job skills for high school students. It makes a life-long hobby affordable and is a collaboration with area schools. Region 7 includes all communities in the Upper Peninsula. The other communities that competed for the Region 7 CEA nomination were Ironwood and St. Ignace. View a full press release and photos.

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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