Advocacy Blue Arrows

Michigan Prosperity Agenda: Time to Fix Michigan’s System of Funding Communities

For several years now the Prosperity Agenda radio show has discussed the importance of creating places where people want to live, work and enjoy. It’s a concept called placemaking or simply put – building communities that you love and never want to leave.

Inspiring and helping communities reach their potential and capitalize on their existing placemaking assets is a large part of what we do at the Michigan Municipal League.

To be frank, placemaking costs money. However, there’s a significant economic development argument about the advantages to placemaking. In other words, today’s communities of all shapes and sizes can’t afford not to create vibrant places.
On this most recent radio show on News/Talk 760 WJR we talk about the economic benefits to placemaking, the financial challenges facing Michigan’s communities and some proposed solutions.

My co-host for the show is Mike Wilkinson, who has covered this topic as computer-assisting reporting specialist for Bridge Magazine ( Our guests are Shanna Draheim of Public Sector Consults; my colleague Anthony Minghine, associate executive director and COO for the League; and Hazel Park City Manager and MML Board Member Ed Klobucher.

The show airs 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 25, on News/Talk 760 WJR, but you can listen anytime on the audio links below. Listen as we talk about the conference and how people are building better Michigan communities.

View past radio shows here. You can also listen anytime by clicking on the audio links below or by subscribing to the FREE iTunes podcast. Learn more about the League’s placemaking work here on this blog.

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. (1:08)


Mike Wilkinson

Mike Wilkinson is Bridge Magazine’s ( computer-assisted reporting specialist. Mike performed a similar role at The Detroit News. He recently participated in an in-depth series for Bridge about Michigan’s broken municipal finance system.s.


- A Toledo resident, Wilkinson draws comparisons to the differences to how Ohio and Michigan fund their communities. Hear how Michigan stacks up. Hint: Not good. (6:56)

Chuck Marohn

Shanna Draheim

Shanna Draheim joined Public Sector Consultants in 2011 as a senior consultant. She conducts research and analysis, and manages projects for the firm and its clients on a wide range of subjects, including urban policy, community sustainability and economic development, natural resource management, and energy. Shanna also has substantial experience in state and federal government. Her firm recently completed a report on the economic impact of placemaking,

- Placemaking isn’t a “feel-good thing, it’s an economic imperative”. Hear about some communities having placemaking success. (9:47)

Marcus Peccia

Anthony Minghine

Tony Minghine is the associate executive director and chief operating officer of the Michigan Municipal League, and has devoted his career to the service of local government. Tony has been with the League for 10 years and has more than 25 years’ experience and expertise in municipal finance issues. He’s a regular speaker on a variety of topics effecting local government and plays a key role in training local officials. Tony explains why and how Michigan’s system for funding municipalities is fundamentally broken.

- One of the biggest impediments to creating great places is the financing to do it. Michigan has a booming economy but our communities aren’t sharing in the profits. That’s a problem. Tony has solutions – listen. (9:43)

Joe Borgstrom

Ed Klobucher

Edward Klobucher has served as city manager for Hazel Park since 2002. He held multiple roles in Hazel Park before becoming city manager in 2002. He’s been working in the trenches so-to-speak for more than a couple decades now and has tremendous insight on how the state’s system for funding local government makes his job nearly impossible.

- Ed explains the creative things his community has done to stay afloat, but barely surviving shouldn’t be good enough. He suggests some changes that can help communities. (10:17)


April 27, 2016: CNU 24 Congress to Put National Spotlight on Detroit and Michigan

Mar 23, 2016: Honoring Michigan’s Community Builders

Feb 24, 2016: Overcoming Obstacles to Make Placemaking Happen

Jan 27, 2016: Making the most of Michigan winters

Dec 23, 2015: Connecting Michigan Through Higher Education

Nov 25, 2015: Striving for a Welcoming & Diverse Michigan Program Explores How to Make a Better Michigan

Oct 29, 2015: A Look at Making Walkable, Pedestrian-Friendly Communities in Michigan

Sept 23, 2015: Program Aims To Make Cities More Attractive and Livable

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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