Does this pony in a cow costume make you smile? View more photos.
ANN ARBOR, Michigan – Building great communities is more about putting smiles on people’s faces than it is fixing potholes. Yes, pothole repair is important, but seeing a child laugh at a pony dressed up as a cow in a downtown parade or eating a formal dinner on a bridge with friends can be ever-lasting memories.
This was the message by placemaking expert Peter Kageyama in an education session on citizen engagement Friday, Jan. 18, 2012, at the Michigan Municipal League headquarters in Ann Arbor. Kageyama spoke to about 20 southeast Michigan community leaders as part of a series of training weeks being offered by the League. He explained that the key to creating vibrant communities is finding what people love about their city and town and then building upon that.
He gave examples of a farming community that has a parade of cows and a river-community that turns a pedestrian foot-bridge into an elegant dinner to raise funds for the local chamber of commerce. The training week concept is a new service the League is providing to bring our vast array of education offerings to various parts of the state. League members and non-members can register for a whole week of trainings or pick and choose the topics that interest them. The first training week was this week and the next training week is Feb. 14-15 in Frankenmuth. Go here for details.
All the education sessions are excellent, but hearing Kageyama, of Florida, is a special treat in such a small setting. He often speaks around the world to large groups. If you missed him Friday he’s speaking again during training weeks in Kalamazoo, March 13-15; Lansing, April 24-26; and Mackinaw City, May 15-17; and Muskegon, June 5-7. Other topics planned at the training week sessions include the Open Meetings Act (OMA) and Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) parliamentary procedure, municipal finance, service consolidation and shared services, and engaging your citizen change makers. You can register for the sesions here.
View additional photos from the training week in Ann Arbor here and here.
Matt Bach is the League's director of media relations. He can be reached at (734) 669-6317 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
Peter Kageyama talks about citizen engagement at a Michigan Municipal League training session Friday, January 18, 2013. View more photos.