The City has a plan

The new Midland City Modern Master Plan draft is not your grandparents’ planning document. For that matter, it isn’t even your parents’ planning document necessarily.

It is, however, yours to review and it will serve as the starting point for the city’s next Master Plan, its official policy guide and strategy for community improvements and development over the next 30 years. And it is available for reading in different formats, both online and a physical copy, and as a city press release noted early in September, “It’s bright, bold, and ready for you to review!”
Jacob Kain is the City of Midland's Planning and Community Development director.
And that is by design, said Midland City director of planning and community development Jacob Kain during an interview at Espresso Milano on Ashman Street earlier this week. 

The design changes begin with the draft’s magazine-like appearance and continue through the overview of Midland’s distant and its recent historical past, its assessment of how those changes has led Midland to where it is at today, and through those assessments leading to its establishing goals for implementation regarding infrastructure and utilities, the local economy, health and well-being, and energy and environment.
“Midland City Modern is the culmination of thousands of pieces of public input from Midlanders of all ages, abilities, and walks of life, and so it provides an authentic perspective on who we are now and where we want to go in the future,” says Kain. “This plan was created not just to be read, but enjoyed and shared. It has big photos, fun elements, and easy-to-understand language. It belongs to each and every person who calls Midland home and we believe it’s representative of that.”  Kain says Midland has a “good track record of following its plans” in the past for implementing the ‘big picture” ideas for local level use, be it in maintenance, transportation, infrastructure, economic development or a host of other areas outlined in the draft.

City Council officially released the plan draft during its meeting on Oct 9. This step, in accordance with the Michigan Planning Enabling Act (MPEA), kicks off a mandatory 63-day review period that has been initiated offering community members the opportunity to see what is in it and to share their valuable insights and suggestions before final adoption expected in early 2024.

Open Houses

During the comment period, the city is hosting various avenues for people to comment, including two open houses Thursday,  Nov. 9, the first from 11 am-1 pm. and the second  from 6-8 p.m., both at City Hall Council Chambers, 333 W. Ellsworth St.

In addition, Kain says, the Planning Department will host a series of “Q&A - Casual Coffee Chats.” He encourages people to “enjoy a warm beverage and conversation about the City's draft Master Plan. These informal public input sessions are a great way to speak with City staff directly about concerns, suggestions, or general feedback you have for the City's master plan.”

The first will be Wed, Nov. 15 from 3pm-5pm at  Live Oak Coffeehouse, 711 Ashman Street and the second will be Monday, Dec. 4, from 9:30am-11:30 a.m. at
Grove Tea Lounge, 2405 Abbott Road. Other chats will be scheduled, dates and locations to be announced.  
"Q & A" on Wed, Nov. 15, 3-5pm
The master plan serves as the City’s official policy guide and strategy for community improvements and development over the next 30 years and will help maintain a consistent vision  while directing redevelopment and change, increasing livability and neighborhoods, and transforming it into a more sustainable, innovative, accessible, attractive, and economically vibrant community. The City’s last comprehensive master planning process took place in 2005 – 2006.

To view the draft plan, review detailed public input used to create the plan, and learn more about the process of developing Midland City Modern, visit the
visit the website.   Residents without internet access who would like to review a physical copy should visit the Planning Department inside City Hall, 333 W. Ellsworth Street in Midland, or the Grace A. Dow Memorial Library Reference Desk, 1710 W. St. Andrews Road, Midland.
"Q & A" on Mon, Dec. 4, 9:30-11:30am
Kain says for the next month or so, his main job will be to help residents get access to the draft plan documents and help them develop the context and the focus for making informed decisions.

“Since that last comprehensive planning event in 2007, much has occurred in the community and it is important to know how the floods of 2017 and 2020, changes at Dow and the hospital, the pandemic, changes in the way Midllanders shop, our educational changes, all have helped shape where we are today,” he says.

“It’s been an eventful 16-plus years since our last plan,” Kain says, and every suggestion helps City Council provide a meaningful plan for residents.

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Read more articles by Ralph E. Wirtz.

Ralph E. Wirtz is a native Midlander who retired from the Midland Daily News as a managing editor in 2015. He has been freelancing since then in between traveling and volunteering. He has four adult children, all who graduated from Bullock Creek High School as he did. He is an eight-year veteran of the U.S. Navy and a Central Michigan University grad. He can be reached at