The Michigan Municipal League’s Dan Gilmartin talked about the importance of community wealth building on a new podcast that was put together by supporters of the City of Caro located in Michigan’s thumb.

Gilmartin, the League’s CEO and executive director, appeared on the new Cultivating Community Podcast done by the City of Caro, the Tuscola County Economic Development Corporation, and the Caro Chamber of Commerce. The show discusses “modern economic development in rural America” and is hosted by Matt Lane and Lauren Amella. Lane serves as the City Manager of Caro and Amella is the manager of the Caro Farmers’ Market.”

The second episode of the podcast brought Gilmartin as their guest. They discussed the League moving from placemaking to Community Wealth Building, which Gilmartin described as a “graduation”, rather than a change. He explained that places are what draws people to a community, and that drove the League’s placemaking initiative.

Placemaking has strong ties to the physical space of creating places for people in a community. Community wealth building pairs this need for space and addresses additional needs of a community, such as public health, sustainability, and so on. Gilmartin often refers to it as “improving the human experience for all”.

A key component of community wealth building is equity. Communities have different needs based off a variety of variables such as size. The City of Caro is a rural city, and therefore won’t have the same wants and needs as a larger metropolitan area. Gilmartin discussed with Lane and Amella how community wealth building fits every community, and allows them to provide things for their community that will encourage people to move there, to start businesses, etc.

Gilmartin commented during their discussion that what they were doing by creating this podcast, in turn creating a sense of trust and belonging to those in their community, is a great example of how a smaller community like Caro can attract both businesses and people to their community.

Additionally, Caro has recently updated their parks and recreation plan, created a new dog park and expanded upon their farmers’ market to cultivate community. These projects are all a part of their community revitalization. Their podcast will be able to highlight ways in which they are creating a place where people and businesses will want to be.

You can listen to the podcast here with new episodes monthly.