The League Launches New Program on Developing Great Places

Over the past several years, the League has worked with many partners to create how-to guides, conduct data-informed studies, and carry out dynamic placemaking activities in communities across Michigan. We’ve now built a new online collection of resources, success stories, and templates to inspire even more great work.

Developing Great Places

Village Green in Hudsonville

Hudsonville is building their new Village Green town center with support from MEDC

We have focused on site-specific technical assistance in selected cities across Michigan. This catalytic work has ranged from assisting RRC certified communities with selecting, prioritizing and preparing their Redevelopment Ready Sites; to creating momentum for site reuse where blight had been eliminated and implementation activities for projects visioned in local master plans or community meetings.

The primary objectives of our efforts have been to help Michigan communities attract development that meet their placemaking goals and improve their city’s economic sustainability.

Many of these activities have been successful thanks in part to our valued partnerships with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA), and our own Michigan Municipal League Foundation.

Here’s just a few highlights from this collection:

  • Ferndale – Our team master planned a closed loop sustainable campus focused on supporting B2B commerce for food-based businesses on a formerly industrial use site. The city is working with an adjacent business owner to foster private investment, and simultaneously investigating the feasibility of an anaerobic digester to manage the organic waste generated from the site and the community.
  • Hudsonville – We worked with consultants to prepare conceptual renderings for the Village Green to dramatically re-envision the master plan and funded environmental assessments of a critical redevelopment site in the target area. These partnerships helped the city communicate their goals and expectations to developers as they and the existing property owners took steps to move forward.
  • Ypsilanti –   We worked with city staff to keep momentum going for good place-based planning (through PlacePlans or otherwise), and used target market analysis to demonstrate both demand and opportunity. The result was an RFQ package marketed throughout several networks that included concept site plans with visual cues of what the community desired and site-specific fiscal analyses that tested those visions against market data and estimated building costs.
  • Allegan – Building upon the recently-implemented Place Plan, designed by the League and several partners in 2013, the city is actively seeking developer interest for new mixed used development with an upper story residential housing component. This effort is focused on a municipally-owned lot in the downtown. We delivered an RFQ package following our the format in our How-To: Issue a Developer RFQ Guide, complete with marketing materials, schematic design documents, and estimated construction costs for a new multi-story riverfront development.
Allegan's 2nd & Brady Streets Riverfront Redevelopment Site

Allegan’s 2nd & Brady Streets Riverfront Redevelopment Site

Check out Developing Great Places for more inspiring ideas and resources. Who knows? One of our projects may spark the next big idea in your city!