Two northwest Michigan cities are among seven chosen to start working on placemaking and economic development through the PlacePlans program.
is a partnership between the Michigan Municipal League and Michigan State University to help communities design and plan transformative projects intended to attract and retain residents and employers.
Boyne City and Traverse City are the two local cities that will undertake the PlacePlans process.
Boyne City will focus on its waterfront along Lake Charlevoix, which planners say is underused and populated by properties that are disconnected from each other and the downtown area. A design plan will center on Sunset Park and surrounding spaces, to create connections and paths to link waterfront assets more closely.
In Traverse City, the plan will address the west end of downtown, which is developing, but haphazardly, and has issues with pedestrian and motorized infrastructure, streetscaping, and connectivity. The placemaking project will focus on a vacant city-owned parcel on Kids Creek that will become a community space to center the emerging district around and connect it to the rest of downtown.
The others are Benton Harbor, Lathrup Village, Monroe, Niles, and Saginaw. This group is the third round of cities to work with PlacePlans, which started in 2012.
"With this announcement, in just three short years we are very pleased to have helped about two dozen communities throughout Michigan with projects that will benefit their cities for years to come," says Dan Gilmartin, CEO and executive director of the Michigan Municipal League.
Now, the next thing to happen will be a stakeholder process in each city, drawing together those who have interests in placemaking for the community. Then, a round of public meetings and drafts to gain input will take place before plans, goals, and guidelines for implementation are created.
Writer: Sam Eggleston
Source: Michigan Municipal League