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Press Release

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: Nov. 19, 2014

PlacePlans for Cadillac, Detroit, Flint, Holland, Jackson, Kalamazoo, Marquette, and Midland Now Available

Michigan Municipal League posts projects at placemaking.mml.org

ANN ARBOR, Michigan —The Michigan Municipal League released finalized PlacePlans for eight communities today. Communities selected for this year’s PlacePlans pilot program were Cadillac, Detroit, Flint, Holland, Jackson, Kalamazoo, Marquette, and Midland.

“These PlacePlans represent months of work by the League and our partners, but more importantly they attempt to reflect the needs and wants of the local community members,” said League CEO and Executive Director Dan Gilmartin. “We’re excited about the opportunities and possibilities the plans represent in these communities.” The PlacePlans work continues to be so successful and so well received by the participating communities that the next round of PlacePlans work in a new group of Michigan communities will soon be announced, Gilmartin said.

PlacePlans is a joint effort between the Michigan Municipal League and Michigan State University’s School of Planning, Design and Construction, and is led at the state agency level by the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA). It is a program to help communities design and implement transformative placemaking projects to focus economic development efforts around walkable downtown districts.

“MSHDA is truly impressed with the innovative and creative work generated by the leaders and citizens in these eight communities—Cadillac, Detroit, Flint, Holland, Jackson, Kalamazoo, Marquette, and Midland,” said Gary Heidel, Chief Placemaking Officer for MSHDA. “We now hope that these plans can become reality and help continue the positive placemaking work already underway in these cities.”

Here is a review of the eight PlacePlans with links to the final reports for each community:

Cadillac: The “Heritage Plaza” concept envisions the site as a year-round destination and hub of downtown, hosting seasonal events and providing an attractive connection between the Mitchell Street businesses and Lake Cadillac. Recommendations: The plan provides a flexible central public space that can host amenities such as a splash pad and skating rink, overhauls the alleyway to provide additional business frontage on the plaza, and offers options to make Lake Street work better for cars and pedestrians alike. View the full report

Detroit: The Southwest Detroit “Connecting Communities with Vernor Crossing” project developed concepts for the reuse of a vacant brownfield at the intersection of Vernor and Livernois. Recommendations: The plan centers on redevelopment of the 7-acre site to include retail soft goods, shared market space for the neighborhood’s entrepreneurs, and a flexible public plaza. View the full report.

Flint: The Grand Traverse Greenway is a 3.4-mile-long former CSX railroad line that the City of Flint has been working to acquire and convert to a bike/walk trail with support from state agencies. Recommendations: The plan provides concepts for the trail’s intersections with major streets, serving as both “trailheads” to provide access as well as making pedestrians and cyclists visible to drivers. View the full report.

Holland: The Holland project examined the Western Gateway area around the farmers market and civic center building in an effort to extend downtown Holland and link it to the Lake Macatawa waterfront. Recommendations: The plan outlines a strategy for creating a “food innovation district” as one option for the Western Gateway area, including next steps for city staff and food sector businesses. View the full report.

Jackson: The “Downtown Jackson Alleyway” project developed concepts for the four-block downtown alleyway running from the farmers market to the transit center. Recommendations: The alley plan provides design elements that link together destinations along the alley and identifies locations where adjacent business owners could leverage the alley for additional customer access, outdoor restaurant seating, or rooftop patio overlooks. View the full report.

Kalamazoo: The Kalamazoo project plans for an improved transportation network around Kalamazoo Valley Community College’s new healthy living campus. Recommendations: The plan recommends a new look at Portage Street as the spine of the emerging health & wellness district. The plan also includes recommendations to support multiple transportation options for staff, students, patients, and visitors. View the full report.

Marquette: The Marquette “Reimaging Baraga Avenue” project focused on improving the connectivity and streetscape of the 100 block of Baraga Avenue. Recommendations: Key elements include the creation of better connections to surrounding neighborhoods and businesses, redeveloping underutilized parking lots, reconfiguring on-street parking, and reinvesting in historic Father Marquette Park. View the full report.

Midland: The Midland project brought national experts to the city to engage city staff, farmers market vendors, and other community leaders in a discussion of strategic opportunities for the popular market. Recommendations: The report recommends a community conversation about the role of the farmers market, both as a functional market and as a community gathering space and catalyst for economic development in downtown. View the full report.

View full press releases for each project here: http://www.mml.org/newsroom/index.html.
For more information go to placemaking.mml.org or contact Matt Bach, League Director of Media Relations, at 734-669-6317 or mbach@mml.org.

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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