Alpena is among five communities that receive planning and design assistance through "PlacePlans," a new MIPlace Partnership initiative to help communities design and plan for transformative placemaking projects. Alpena's project, a downtown plaza project, joins Allegan (riverfront development), Dearborn (transit-oriented development),Saginaw (green zone development), and Sault Ste. Marie (mixed-use alley space development.) The winning submissions were chosen from more than thirty exceptional projects representing different scales and geographic locations around the state.
National data and anecdotal evidence in Michigan shows that people of all ages are looking for a style of living that includes quality physical design, walkability, transit options, arts and culture, diversity and a green environment. This style of living is often summed up as "Quality of Place." The competition to attract and retain a talented workforce is no longer with neighboring communities or states; it is now global. People, young and old alike, are choosing place first. Strategic investment in communities committed to creating quality places is a critical element of any economic development policy, and is central to the long-term success of Michigan.
In the last year, Gov. Rick Snyder has focused on place as a critical component of Michigan's economic and community development strategy in three of his special addresses to the Legislature. In May, he approved the creation of the MIPlace Partnership. The Michigan State Housing Development Authority is the lead agency in state government to implement this new initiative, with the Michigan Municipal League and Michigan State University's School of Planning, Design and Construction as key partners representing communities and academic experts.
The MIPlace Partnership will assist the five communities in an interactive, collaborative public process to design projects that will substantially impact their quality of place. The projects will be led by professional planners, public policy experts and landscape architects, and supported by MSU students. The lessons learned and projects completed will be used as best practice models for many other communities in Michigan of similar size and type.
Alpena will announce the date for the first public meeting as soon as it is determined. For additional information, contact Greg Sundin, planning and development director and interim city manager, at 354-1711 or firstname.lastname@example.org.