ROGERS CITY - The Michigan Municipal League has given Rogers City a regional Community Excellence Award, and now the city will compete at the state level in September.
The MML recognized the city for its "Dancing Downtown" project, City Manager Mark Slown said. The city put together a presentation highlighting all the ways Rogers City has grown recently. One of the items was Purple Martin Mania, a downtown celebration centering around a dance under the county's sole cycling traffic light.
"We're celebrating a bit of an economic revitalization," he said.
Three new stores have opened in Rogers City's downtown recently, including the Presque Isle Athletic Club and Chicory Cafe. In addition, several of the area's major employers are making investments, including Rogers City Rehabilitation and Moran Iron Works.
The city itself has been making improvements, both through its beautification efforts and its water and sewer project, Slown said.
"For a small town, we're going to claim that we're firing on all eight cylinders right now," he said. "Not that we don't have things to improve, we certainly do."
Credit for receiving the award goes all around, from city workers to committee volunteers to the residents, Slown said.
"It really helps our community to realize that we have a lot of potential," he said. "We don't claim to be any great city, greater than anybody else, but we've got a lot of things going and the future looks bright. A lot of effort went into it by a lot of people and they all deserve thanks and recognition for their part."
Receiving the award is about more than bragging rights, and going for the state award will help the city promote itself, Slown said.
"Thousands of representatives from across the state will be seeing our presentation," he said. "We're hoping to win the state level, but even if we don't we get to tell our story to people who hopefully will come to Rogers City and spend a few dollars here."
The MML is a nonprofit organization that works to represent Michigan's communities at the state and federal level "to help them sustain highly livable, desirable, and unique places within the state," according to its website. It gives out the regional awards at its Capital Conference in Lansing, then the seven regional finalists compete for the state award at MML's annual convention. Convention attendees vote to pick the winner.