A buzz of excitement filled the auditorium of the Benton Harbor Public Library as about 100 people gathered to share their ideas, visions and concerns for Dwight Pete Mitchell City Center Park. The occasion was the April 14 Community Visioning Workshop for Benton Harborâ€™s PlacePlan, which they have cleverly dubbed Square 1: Coming Together @ City Center.
Under the guidance of MSU professors Wayne Beyea and Warren Rauhe, MSU students, and League staff, community members congregated at tables and expressed their thoughts on what they did and didnâ€™t like about the park, and how theyâ€™d like to see it improved. Their personalities really shone when it came time for them so share their ideas with the whole group. Table spokespeople energetically delivered their groupâ€™s ideas with their own unique style, often with clever team names such as Visionaries, Trendsetters, and Soul Providers. The next step is an open house, scheduled for June 16, where community members will have an opportunity to review and comment on preliminary design plans for City Center Park.
The PlacePlans process is also moving forward in the other seven cities the League is working with this year. At the first Heart of Monroe community workshop, community leaders, business owners and residents dreamed of ways to convert an underutilized alley into a pedestrian connector to unify the downtown area. During Farmington/Farmington Hillsâ€™ first community workshop, participants offered ideas on rethinking the relationship of the 10 Mile/Orchard Lake intersection to surrounding neighborhoods. At enLiVen Lathrup Villageâ€˜s second community workshop, residents shared their opinions on preliminary design plans for creating a true â€œvillage centerâ€ on the site surrounding Lathrup Village Hall.
And League staff has been meeting with stakeholders in Boyne City, Niles, Saginaw, and Traverse City to lay the groundwork for upcoming community workshops.
More information on all of these projects is available on the Leagueâ€™s Placemaking site.