Michigan Prosperity Agenda: Program Aims To Make Cities More Attractive and Livable
Program Explores How to Make a Better Michigan
Placemaking is a dynamic, strategic approach to community development and economic revitalization based on an individual community’s strengths within core “quality of life” areas. PlacePlans promotes a comprehensive understanding of a community’s place-based assets, and provides the tools and strategies to best leverage them. PlacePlans projects will positively impact each community’s ability to leverage their place-based assets as economic drivers, and will provide lessons large and small for communities across Michigan. By the end of 2015, 22 cities will have participated in the PlacePlans program and gained a detailed roadmap to transforming one or more key properties in their downtown so they can become communities that offer the amenities, resources, social and professional networks and opportunities to support thriving lifestyles. Already, the contributions to PlacePlans by the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA), Michigan State University and the League have catalyzed $2.2 million in project investment with $178 million in progress. On this month’s Prosperity Agenda radio show we talk to the people who are involved in the PlacePlans program and how they’re making our cities more attractive and livable. This month’s guests include Luke Forrest, program manager for the Michigan Municipal League; Paul Barbeau, who is active in PlacePlans work in Midland. Mich., through his position as Michigan Baseball Foundation vice president and as executive director of the related Momentum Midland efforts; assistant city manager and director of community and economic development in Benton Harbor, Mich.; and co-host Christine Ferretti, reporter for The Detroit News.
THIS MONTH’S SHOW airs at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 23 on News/Talk 760 WJR, and you can listen by clicking the links below. Listen as we talk about the upcoming conference and how to build better Michigan communities.
Dan Gilmartin, executive director and CEO of the Michigan Municipal League, explains that the Prosperity Agenda radio show is about challenging listeners to help make Michigan a better place to live, work and play. Gilmartin said having vibrant and prosperous local communities is a key factor.
- Dan Gilmartin explains this month’s show. (1:05)
Ferretti, a reporter for The Detroit News, covers many issues in Detroit, including the Vernor Crossing PlacePlans project in southwest Detroit, which recently won an AIA Detroit Urban Design Award. Ferretti joins us to discuss how she has seen cities take interest in the PlacePlans program and what she believes it can accomplish in terms of improving Michigan cities.
- Christine talks about the “makers and bakers” in the Vernor Crossing area and how they’re using their skills to improve the neighborhood. (6:36)
Forrest is a program manager for The Michigan Municipal League. Luke joined the League in 2010. Before joining the League, he worked for the Michigan Suburbs Alliance, the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities and the U.S. House of Representatives. On this month’s show, Luke gives a brief history of how the League became involved in the PlacePlans program, as well as initiatives that he has seen come together around the state and where you can find programs in your community.
- Studies have shown that there’s a high demand for walkable communities, but the supply is limited. So what does this mean – high housing prices in walkable areas. (10:03)
Barbeau is the president of the Great Lakes Loons Baseball Club and vice president of the Michigan Baseball Foundation. Paul has been active in PlacePlans work in Midland and is the executive director of the related Momentum Midland efforts. In this month’s Prosperity Agenda, he tells us why Midland is thinking of creating a larger, more robust farmers market, how he thinks the city will benefit and more.
- Barbeau discusses the important role community collaboration and input played in the Momentum Midland initiative. (8:25)
Marja Winters has been Benton Harbor assistant city manager and director of community and economic development for the past year. Before that, she worked in Detroit as deputy director of the Planning & Development Department for five years and as director of the Office of Neighborhood Commercial Revitalization for two years. She joins this month’s show and discusses why she thinks Benton Harbor can create a sustainable, dynamic, vibrant place with Dwight Pete Mitchell City Center Park and make it somewhere people want to be all the time.
- Winters gives an essential tip in developing a project like they are doing in Benton Harbor. It’s a tip you won’t want to miss. Listen to find out. (11:10)