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Press Release

May 19, 2011

CONTACT:   Matt Bach
Dir. of Communications
Michigan Municipal League
(734) 669-6317 or

Vassar Wins Region 5 Community Excellence Award in League Competition

City's "Chill on the Hill" Now in Running for Statewide Community Excellence Award

Vassar City Manager Julius Suchy receives the Region 5 Community Excellence Award from Michigan Municipal League Board President and Alpena Mayor Carol Shafto.View and download additional photos from this event here.

Marine City, MICHIGAN - A unique winter sledding event earned the city of Vassar the Michigan Municipal League’s Region 5 Community Excellence Award on Wednesday (May 18, 2011). As the Region 5 winner, Vassar now has a chance to win the statewide CEA in the League’s “Race for the Cup” competition. (Click here to read more about this peer-selected contest that recognizes outstanding community services, projects and programs.)

Vassar’s “Chill on the Hill” event was held for the first time in February, and included a 1,000-foot-long sledding hill down the city’s main street through the heart of downtown. The first-time Chill on the Hill far exceeded the planners’ expectations, drawing 830 sledders and 2,500 spectators. The event was so successful, local businesses said they ran out of food for the unexpectedly large crowds, said Vassar City Manager Julius Suchy, who gave a short presentation on the event at the League’s Region 5 meeting in Marine City on May 18.

Suchy said the huge undertaking involved bringing in and out truckloads of snow, arranging with the Michigan Department of Transportation to allow for a temporary road closing during the event, and working with an insurance company to address liability concerns.

“It ended up being a fun way to get some recognition for the city and it didn’t cost the city a dime. In fact, in the first year we made $1,400. It’s a reflection of all the people and groups who were involved to make this happen,” Suchy said of the CEA honor. “Despite all the cuts in our communities and financial struggles going on, there are things we can do to make people proud.”

Also competing for the CEA honor was the city of Algonac, which presented a universal-access pool rebuilt through a community-wide fundraising effort.
League Board President and Alpena Mayor Carol Shafto said both projects were excellent and showed the unique work being done in Michigan’s rural communities.

“There is no question our communities big and small throughout Michigan are facing some tremendous financial challenges, but it’s nice to see communities like Vassar and Algonac still doing some clever and impressive projects for the betterment of their residents,” said Shafto. “It’s inspiring, it really is.”

Vassar will now go on to compete for the statewide CEA honor against the winners of the other six regions during the League’s Annual Convention Oct. 4-7, 2011 in Grand Rapids.


For more information contact, Matt Bach, communications director for the Michigan Municipal League at (734) 669-6317 or


The Michigan Municipal League advocates on behalf of its member communities in Lansing, Washington D.C., and the courts; provides educational opportunities for elected and appointed municipal officials; and assists municipal leaders in administering services to their communities through League programs and services.




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