MARLETTE, Michigan - Connecting the community parks, schools and businesses through a series of paths and sidewalks has made the City of Lapeer a much more “walkable community.” Officials from Lapeer talked about the plan that has made their city a pedestrian-friendly place during the Michigan Municipal League’s Region 5 Education Seminar Friday, May 21, in Marlette, Michigan.
The discussion about walkablity was a key part to the day-long seminar (click here for photos). Having a walkable and visibly attractive community is one of eight key assets identified by the , as making vibrant cities, villages and towns. The eight assets are part of a League program called the Center for 21st Century Communities. The other assets are green initiatives, cultural economic development, entrepreneurship, diversity/multiculturalism, messaging and technology, transit and education.
“We wanted to take our parks and city sidewalks and link them together so people are accessible to downtown, accessible to the schools, accessible to the commercial district,” said Ray Turczyn, Lapeer’s director of parks, recreation and cemeteries. “They surround the city and link together all the other key features of our town.”
Lapeer Planning Director Linda Jackman talked about a pilot project her community is doing in conjunction with the Michigan Municipal League and how the city brought in walkability expert Dan Burden to evaluate their community. Jackman said Burden presented a list of recommendations that they are using to guide themselves into the future.
Also during the seminar were presentations by League Board President Jeff Jenks, League CEO Dan Gilmartin, League General Counsel Bill Mathewson and John Gabor, manager of Marine City and Norma Rivas Ricci, of the U.S. Census Bureau. In addition there was a panel of speakers who talked about what’s happening in Lansing. The panelists were Samantha Jones Harkins, legislative associate for the League, and State Rep. John Espinoza, D-Crowsell; and Rep. Kevin Daley, R-Attica. The League also recognized Region 5 officers John Gabor, vice chair and city manager of Marine City; and Mary Willis, Region 5 secretary and council person in Crowsell.
During each regional meeting, the attendees also nominate a community for the League’s Community Excellence Award. The winner in Region 5 was Harbor Beach for its annual Harbor Beach Maritime Festival.
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 the League programs and services. For more information, visit www.mml.org.
View photos from the Region 5 education seminar.
Read a press release about the Region 5 Community Excellence Award winner.
Matt Bach is communications director for the Michigan Municipal League. He can be reached at (734) 669-6317 or firstname.lastname@example.org.