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March 22, 2019 12:26 am

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Local Leaders Being Asked To Participate In Michigan's MiPlace Initiative To Revitalize Area

How does a community increase economic and development opportunities while preserving its environmental resources?
        That is one of the aims of the state of Michigan’s MiPlace initiative which is striving to be a vanguard in a national movement called “placemaking.”
        “It’s a simple concept that people choose to live in places that offer the amenities, resources, social and professional networks and opportunities to support thriving lifestyles,” reads a statement by local activist Jon Helmrich about the initiative.
        Helmrich, together with Michigan League of Conservation Voters Director Patty Birkholz, a former five-term Michigan legislator, has been encouraging leaders from the area’s communities (the townships of Ganges and Saugatuck, the cities of Saugatuck and Douglas, etc.) to take advantage of a free 12-hour curriculum (tentatively divided into six sessions) offered by the state and designed to enhance networking and teach ways to boost placemaking practices.
        Helmrich is a member at large on the Kalamazoo Harbor Authority Board representing Saugatuck Township.
        With respect to the MiPlace endeavor, he represents a number of mainstay organizations, including the Saugatuck-Douglas Convention & Visitors Bureau, Saugatuck Dunes Coastal Alliance, Michigan League of Conservation Voters and West Michigan Environmental Action Council.
        “We are hoping to have strong participation from the Saugatuck/Douglas region,” said Helmrich, who has been asking boards and councils to designate a contact person.
        MiPlace training is expected to take place sometime in early May at a time and site to be determined. It is made available at no cost thanks to a grant from the Michigan State Housing & Development Authority.
        And the only cost associated with the training is the meeting space, printing of paperwork and refreshments.
        “To revitalize Michigan we must examine our state through a new lens, taking into account the types of places where new economy workers, entrepreneurs and businesses want to locate, invest and expand.      This approach is commonly described as creating a ‘sense of place’ or just ‘placemaking,’” states the website.
        “Michigan can attract and retain talent - especially young, knowledge-based talent - by focusing on how best to take advantage of the unique placemaking assets of our regional communities.”
        Anyone interested in obtaining more information about the MiPlace initiative or upcoming events are asked to contact Jon Helmrich at:

Local Leaders Being Asked To Participate In Michigan’s MiPlace Initiative To Revitalize Area

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