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Press Release

Matt Bach, Director of Media Relations
Michigan Municipal League
(734) 669-6317;


Year of the U.P.

Honors, Recognitions and Awards Go to Upper Peninsula Members of the Michigan Municipal League

The year 2013 is turning out to be the “Year of the U.P.” for Michigan Municipal League members. Several League communities and individuals from the Upper Peninsula are receiving statewide recognition for their hard work and dedication toward improving their communities and state.

The many accomplishments were prominent during the Michigan Municipal League’s recent Convention in Detroit (Sept. 17-20).

• Wakefield City Mayor Dick Bolen was elected League Vice President;
• St. Ignace City Mayor Paul Grondin was elected President of the Michigan Association of Mayors;
• The City of Ironwood won the coveted, statewide Community Excellence Award (CEA).This peer-voted award went to Ironwood for its Railroad Depot Park Project.

In addition, the League’s 2014 annual Convention was already slated to take place in Marquette, which is recognized statewide as a showcase community for successfully utilizing placemaking as an economic driver.

“The many accolades individuals and communities received from the League this year highlight the tremendous work our U.P. members do to make their communities the types of places people want to live, work and enjoy,” said League CEO and Executive Director Dan Gilmartin. “We talk a lot about placemaking, which is turning places from ones you can’t wait to get through into places you never want to leave. Our friends in the Upper Peninsula are showing in many different ways that they value placemaking as an economic driver for not only their communities, but for the entire state.”

Ironwood was the first community north of Clare to receive the Community Excellence Award—the League’s highest community honor. League members attending the League’s Convention in Detroit gave Ironwood the most votes of seven finalists from throughout the state.

Ironwood Mayor Kim Corcoran said, “The votes reflect a great respect for a fantastic placemaking project in our proud community. We are honored.”

Ironwood’s victory was the crowning achievement amid traditional fanfare, to an array of other community and individual triumphs at the Convention’s closing ceremonies.

Wakefield Mayor Dick Bolen, elected by the League’s Board of Trustees as the 2013-14 board vice president, served on the board since 2010, and is in line to become League president next year. As such, Bolen will become just the fourth League president from the Upper Peninsula in the League’s 115-year history, taking over the gavel at the closing Convention ceremonies in Marquette, which is planned for fall 2014.

Current League President Jacqueline Noonan said other communities offered to host in 2014, but Marquette stood out. “I’m very excited for the Marquette Convention,” said Noonan, mayor of Utica. “In 2006, I was amazed by all that Marquette has to offer—walkability, recreational and connecting trails, a vibrant downtown shopping district, and an amazing reclaimed waterfront. I hear they continue to enhance their quality of life, so I can’t wait to visit again.”

St. Ignace Mayor Paul Grondin, recently elected president of the Michigan Association of Mayors (MAM), had previously served as MAM’s vice president. St. Ignace will also host the League’s annual U.P. Education Summit in the spring of 2014, open to all U.P. League members.

In related news, earlier this year Sault Ste. Marie was selected to participate in a PlacePlans collaborative effort between Michigan State University and the Michigan Municipal League, supported by the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) and Governor Snyder’s MIplace Partnership. The Sault Ste. Marie Moloney’s Alley Project was among just four projects statewide to participate in the PlacePlans pilot project. The design plan created through the project process calls for creating a year-round public gathering space that would generate interest and activity in the downtown core, and strengthen the local economy.

Marquette’s Noquemanon Trails Network was also selected and presented this year as a PlaceMarket Case Study, available at the League’s PlaceMarket page:


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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