Every year, the Michigan Municipal League’s peer-nominated Community Excellence Award competition recognize transformational ideas and innovative solutions to the many challenges facing communities. Increasingly, these local success stories are place-based projects and initiatives that are having a profound socioeconomic impact on communities in each of the state’s seven regions.
The 2013 CEA winner was Ironwood in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, where the Depot Park revitalization project has transformed a historic railroad depot into a key focus point in the community. Once completed in its entirety, the park will merge city blocks and add a pavilion, playground equipment, landscaping, volleyball courts, and other amenities in an effort to promote health, history and recreation. The park also serves as a trail head for the vast network of non-motorized trails crisscrossing the region.
The other regional finalists were also outstanding examples of the power of placemaking to transform a community by creating a sense of place and identity while enhancing the quality of life.
Fenton, Holly and Linden’s Shiawassee River Heritage Water Trail
St. Joseph’s Silver Beach development
Belding’s Community Garden
DeWitt’s Community Showcase
Imlay City’s SEED economic gardening program
Rogers City’s “Dancin’ Downtown” streetscape and revitalization