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Placemaking is the art of identifying the unique assets of a community to create and develop strategies and outcomes around quality of life and economic sustainability that best connects people with their place. It is an intuitive, emotional and organic process that returns responsibility to the community.

 

Downtown: The Heart & Soul of a Community

West Branch - Fabulous Fridays

Investing in our Downtowns

The Michigan Municipal League strongly believes that investing in our communities and downtowns is the key to Michigan’s economic growth.  Research continues to show that “place” matters more than ever, as an increasingly mobile workforce seeks out places and neighborhoods before finding jobs and opening up businesses.

If you were describing to someone why you like where you live, what would
be some of the first things that come to your mind?  Would it be a particular event?  A favorite coffee shop?  Recreational opportunities?  Would it also include reminiscing about a lost favorite restaurant, or a vanished corner
store?  Over the past several decades, it has been a challenge to keep the
core of our downtowns vibrant and people connected, as sprawl and big box retail have left many communities struggling.

artistOne of the many talented artists that particpate in
Fabulous Friday's "Art in the Streets"

 

fortuneFrom Motor Cross racing to fortune telling, there is something for everyone to enjoy.

 

west branchWalkable downtown events create opportunities for spontaneous social interactions and reconnections.

The city of West Branch recognizes the importance of bringing people together, of creating a destination where people can shop, enjoy a great restaurant experience and attend events with family and friends.  With this in mind, a group of business owners gathered to discuss ways to actively encourage more engagement in their downtown while at the same time celebrating what is unique to their area.

The result?  Fabulous Fridays was born, a weekly event throughout the summer that celebrates its culture and heritage by hosting different themed events every week during the summer.  Attended by thousands, it has become a catalyst for spurring other events and boosting downtown businesses annually, by 10 to 15 percent.  Investing in our downtowns not only reaps economic benefits, but creates that “sense of place” where people can gather and feel proud of their community.

Why we need to invest in our downtowns

  • Reaps economic benefits by attracting businesses to a quality of life; home values increase, tax dollars stay in the community.

  • Creates opportunities for social interaction through walkability.

  • Incentivizes property owners to rehabilitate and preserve historic buildings in the community.

  • Encourages civic engagement at all levels.

  • Creates a feeling of pride and belonging; creates a sense of place.

What does it take?

  • Reaps economic benefits by attracting businesses to a quality of life; home values increase, tax dollars stay in the community.

  • Creates opportunities for social interaction through walkability.

  • Incentivizes property owners to rehabilitate and preserve historic buildings in the community.

  • Encourages civic engagement at all levels.

 

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