Advocacy Blue Arrows


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.

View past radio shows here.

Listen to the full show: (37:50)


Dan Gilmartin

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)


Christine Ferretti

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)

Chuck Marohn

Luke Forrest

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)

Marcus Peccia

Paul Barbeau

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)

Joe Borgstrom

Marja Winters

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)


Aug 26, 2015: Philanthropy Making a Difference in Michigan Communities

July 22, 2015: Festivals Helping Create Sense of Place in Our Communities

June 24, 2015: Michigan is Redeveloping its Way to Economic Vibrancy

May 27, 2015: Farmers Markets Helping Michigan’s Communities, Economys

April 22, 2015: Building Better Communities

March 25, 2015: A Conversation with Governor Snyder about Proposal 1 Program Explores How to Make a Better Michigan

Feb 25, 2015: What Made You Fall in Love with Your Michigan Community?

Jan 28, 2015: Attracting and Retaining Talent Vital to Michigan’s Future

Dec 29, 2014: Strong Town Strength Test

Nov 26, 2014: Crowdfunding Efforts Helping to Move Michigan Forward

Oct 22, 2014: Placemaking Stories Detailed in New League Book

Sept 24, 2014: The Economic Development Role that Arts and Culture Play in a Community

Aug 27, 2014: The Economic Development Role that Arts and Culture Play in a Community

July 23, 2014: What We Can Do to Make Michigan More Immigrant-Friendly

June 25, 2014: Placemaking and Michigan's Aging Population

May 28, 2014: A Conversation from the National Main Streets Conference in Detroit!

April 23, 2014: Revenue Sharing and the Importance of Investing in Communities

Mar 26, 2014: Crowdfunding Movement; Making a Better Michigan

Feb 26, 2014:Placemaking is a vital part of making our state prosperous again

Jan. 22, 2014:Jobs, jobs and more jobs

Dec. 20, 2013:“PlacePlans” effort taking hold and improving communities across the state

Nov. 27, 2013:The National Media’s Perspective on What is Happening in Detroit

Oct. 23, 2013:The League’s efforts toward an urban policy agenda that moves Michigan toward prosperity

Sept. 25, 2013:Strategic lessons on placemaking from the League’s annual conference in Detroit

Aug. 21, 2013:Michigan’s Port Communities – a Vital Element in the State’s Economic Prosperity

July. 24, 2013:Michigan cities and downtown centers experiencing population growth despite challenges

June. 26, 2013:Complete Streets – Designing roadways to accommodate all users, not just motorists

May. 22, 2013:Engaging citizens is vital to creating prosperous communities

Apr. 24, 2013: Repurposing Property Through Private and Public Partnerships to Revitalize Communities

Mar. 27, 2013: Town-Gown Partnerships Between Cities and Universities Helping to Move State Forward

Feb. 27, 2013: Retiring Baby Boomers Provide Opportunity to Communities

Jan. 23, 2013: Aging in Place

Dec. 26, 2012: Placemaking in Michigan – A Year in Review

Nov. 26, 2012: What is Placemaking and What is MSHDA’s Role in It?

Oct. 24, 2012: Embracing Green Technology in Neighborhood Revitalization

Sept. 26, 2012: Entrepreneurs are Key to Economic Turnaround

August 22, 2012: The MIplace Partnership Initiative Improving Cities and Neighborhoods

July 25, 2012: Arts and Culture Important to Placemaking

June 27, 2012: Entrepreneurs Key to Thriving Michigan Communities

May 23, 2012: Attracting Talent Key to Michigan's Future

April 25, 2012: How Do We Bring it Back to Michigan?

March 28, 2012: Vibrant Michigan Downtowns Good for Business

Feb. 18, 2012: Making Our State More Sustainable

Jan. 25, 2012: The Benefits of Federal Funding for Neighborhood Stabilization

Dec. 29, 2011: The Year in Review

Nov. 27, 2011: Transportation in the State and the Role it Plays in Michigan's Future Economic Prosperity

Oct. 26, 2011: League’s Recently Released Book Emphasizes Quality of Place to Michigan’s Economic Prosperity

Sept. 26, 2011: How will Michigan’s foreclosure crisis impact the state’s future prosperity

August 24, 2011: League Releasing Book Emphasizing Quality of Place

July 27, 2011: What's Happening in Detroit and Other Communities to Make Michigan Better

June 22, 2011: What's Happening in Detroit and Other Communities to Make Michigan Better

May 25, 2011: Why Transit Matter's to Michigan's Future Prosperity

April 27, 2011: Why Place Matters to Michigan's Future Prosperity

Mar. 23, 2011: Gov. Rick Snyder’s Proposed Budget and What it Means for Michigan

Feb. 23, 2011: Gov. Rick Snyder’s Proposed Budget and the Potential Impact on Michigan Cities

Jan 26, 2011: Civic Engagement and Getting People Involved in the Community

Dec 23, 2010: Why Higher Education is Among Main Pillars for Building Michigan's Future

Nov 24, 2010: New Leadership and the Impact on Jobs, Education and Quality of Life

Oct 20, 2010: Michigan Governor Candidates Talk Cities

Sept 23, 2010: Economic Development and Entrepreneurship

Aug 25, 2010: Green Initiatives

July 28, 2010: Economic Gardening

June 23, 2010: Rightsizing Cities

May 26, 2010: Attracting and Retaining Talented Young People

Apr 28, 2010: The New Urban Neighborhood

Mar 24, 2010: Arts, Entertainment and Culture

Feb 24, 2010: Talking Transit

Jan 27, 2010: Making a Better Michigan





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