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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: March 9, 2016

‘enLiVen Lathrup’ PlacePlan Now Available Online

Michigan Municipal League posts project at placemaking.mml.org

ANN ARBOR, Michigan — The Lathrup Village ‘enLiVen Lathrup” PlacePlan project is now available for public viewing at placemaking.mml.org.

The Michigan Municipal League posted the enLiVen Lathrup report today along with PlacePlans projects from six other communities (Benton Harbor, Boyne City, Monroe, Niles, Saginaw, and Traverse City). Information about grants to implement similar PlacePlans in Allegan, Dearborn, Kalamazoo, and Sault Sainte Marie are also available. You can check them all out here: http://placemaking.mml.org/place-plans/.

“Our communities already have so many great assets and the PlacePlans year-long process focuses on an existing asset and recommends ways to make it even better,” said League CEO and Executive Director Dan Gilmartin. “The plans also reflect the needs and wants of the local community members who were involved throughout the process. We’re excited about the opportunities and possibilities the plans represent in these communities.”

PlacePlans is a joint effort between the Michigan Municipal League and Michigan State University 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.

“The PlacePlans program fosters collaboration from local individuals to make their communities feel like home. It’s inspiring to see the innovative and creative work generated by leaders and residents in these communities—Benton Harbor, Boyne City, Lathrup Village, Monroe, Niles, Saginaw and Traverse City,” said Gary Heidel, chief placemaking officer for MSHDA. “Hopefully these PlacePlans can become reality and build upon the positive placemaking work already happening in these cities.”

This current round of PlacePlans work began about a year ago when Lathrup Village was among seven communities selected to receive technical assistance from university faculty and students, professional consultants, and League staff.

In Lathrup Village, League staff facilitated work on a concept plan for park spaces in the village center area around the city hall. Lathrup Village’s attractive historic homes that make up the city’s intimate neighborhoods stand in stark contrast to Southfield Road—a major suburban highway that slices the community in half, lined primarily with unremarkable convenience retail and office strips. The city has updated its master plan and zoning ordinance to support the creation of a “village center” that re-establishes a sense of place appropriate to the historic small-town feel of the residential neighborhoods. However, this work has yet to see progress in terms of creating a sense of place.

“There already is a great sense of pride in our city and the area around the city hall currently serves as a gathering spot for our residents,” said Lathrup Village City Administrator Matthew Baumgarten. “The PlacePlans process helped give us a plan that will make this area even better for years to come.”

Specifically, the Lathrup Village PlacePlan provides a conceptual plan for the public green spaces that run parallel to Southfield Road, behind the city hall and privately-owned historic school. The design concept shows how this park land can be enhanced to best serve its role as the emotional center of the community. The process also engaged the Redevelopment Ready Communities program at the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) to begin a discussion of opportunities for rehabilitating and reusing the historic Annie Lathrup school building adjacent to the park land.

“What I really liked about the PlacePlans project was that it was developed through a series of public workshops with input from dozens of residents,” Baumgarten said. “The concept builds on what works while seeking to better serve existing activities like the summer concert series and farmers market, which are popular in spite of the space rather than because of it.”

The next step is to fold the PlacePlan into a comprehensive Village Center Plan, Baumgarten said.

PlacePlan-related links:

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.


About Michigan Municipal League:
Michigan Municipal League is dedicated to making Michigan’s communities better by thoughtfully innovating programs, energetically connecting ideas and people, actively serving members with resources and services, and passionately inspiring positive change for Michigan’s greatest centers of potential: its communities. The 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. Learn more at mml.org.

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