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Michigan Municipal League

Press Release


Matt Bach
Director of Communications
Michigan Municipal League
(734) 669-6317; C: (810) 874-1073;


New Michigan Municipal League Program Aims to Connect Private Developers with Public Sites

Ann Arbor, Michigan – Michigan Municipal League has launched a new program to help communities attract investment interest in underutilized public properties. The Developing Great Places program tackles individual sites, primes them for the spotlight, and connects them to private developers to move the community’s public-sector efforts forward.

"We're pleased to provide communities with tools to turn underperforming sites into game changing developments,” said Dan Gilmartin, CEO and Executive Director of the Michigan Municipal League. “These resources will give communities strategies for increasing quality of place and attracting private investment, while giving a boost to taxable value in the process.”

In partnership with MEDC, MSHDA, and the MML Foundation, the League has already worked with over a dozen cities on advancing the redevelopment potential of prime sites in their community. Along the way, we’ve learned many valuable lessons about dynamic placemaking activities. To assist and inspire as many communities as possible, we’ve assembled what we’ve learned into a new online collection of resources, success stories, and how-to guides, which are available at

To date, projects have included assisting Redevelopment Ready Communities® in selecting, prioritizing, and preparing redevelopment ready sites; creating momentum for site reuse on formerly blighted properties; and helping implement projects envisioned in local master plans or community meetings. In each case, the goal is the same: help Michigan communities attract development that meets their goals and improves their city’s economic sustainability.

“MEDC is excited to be part of the Developing Great Places initiative,” said Katharine Czarnecki, senior vice president of community development for the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. “This work will spur economic development and growth in communities of all shapes and sizes for years to come.”

The projects are as varied as the communities themselves. In Ferndale, we are helping the community with plans to create a closed-loop sustainable campus focused on supporting business-to-business commerce for food-based businesses. In Allegan, efforts are geared toward generating a developer marketing package for transforming a downtown riverfront lot into a two- or three-story mixed-use building. In Hudsonville, the emphasis is on conceptual renderings and environmental assessments for the Village Green envisioned in the city’s master plan. And in Ypsilanti, we helped the city market a 4-acre parcel near the Depot Town entertainment district with site scenarios and a target market analysis.

"We often get asked, ‘how can we make placemaking happen in our communities?’” said Gary Heidel, Chief Housing Investment Officer for MSHDA. “This new initiative lays out the how and provides a road map to placemaking. This work helps make placemaking possible and that will make our communities more attractive places to live, work and enjoy.”

Each project is intended to help communities activate some of their underperforming properties. But perhaps more importantly, the foundation for our work with these cities is helping them clearly communicate their goals and expectations to potential developers. 

To learn more about these four projects—as well as projects in Boyne City, Escanaba, Flint, Kalamazoo, Manistee, Middleville, Muskegon, Roseville, and Southfield—visit

For additional information, contact the League’s Matt Bach, director of communications, at (810) 874-1073 (cell); (734) 669-6317 (office) and

About the 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





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