Public Policies to Restore Prosperity to Communities in Michigan

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For Immediate Release
February 10, 2009

Contact: Andrea Messinger

“Prosperity Agenda” Policies Would Generate New Jobs and Investments in Michigan

Public Policies to Restore Prosperity to Communities in Michigan

LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Municipal League today presented an agenda of public policies that — if approved — would create thousands of new jobs in the state, generate billions in new commercial and residential investments and create the types of communities Michigan needs to prosper once again.

The League’s Prosperity Agenda was outlined today to two committees of the state Legislature by League Executive Director and CEO Dan Gilmartin. The Prosperity Agenda will be distributed to all state legislators, the governor and media across the state. The League will also work to enact state laws that advance the prosperity policies.

“The Prosperity Agenda answers the question, ‘What kind of Michigan do we want?’” Gilmartin said. “The Prosperity Agenda proposes public policies that create the types of places where prosperity happens, the types of places where college educated, creative and talented people are choosing to live, work, learn and play in relatively large numbers in other states. These public policies have been embraced by cities in other states where prosperity is found in significantly larger numbers of higher income jobs and relatively low unemployment. Those are the types of places we need in Michigan, and the Prosperity Agenda can help us create them.”

Today in large numbers, college educated, creative and talented people are choosing places such as Chicago, Minneapolis, Boston, Denver, Charlotte, Dallas, Austin and other communities that — because of certain public policies — offer the lifestyle attributes and amenities they seek.  While no two prospering communities are exactly the same, these and other prospering cities do offer a menu of lifestyle attributes attractive to talented, educated people. Public policies adopted by those communities and their states have created:

—Significant public transit systems (buses, light rail, commuter rail, passenger rail) and other alternatives to driving including extensive networks of bike lanes, running and walking trails..

—Vibrant downtowns and neighborhoods where people live, work, play and shop in close proximity. In places where public policies have fostered “walkable urbanism,” driving a car is simply unnecessary.

—Mixed-use developments, where buildings tend to go up instead of out and where people can live, work and shop, often under the same roof.

—Thriving entertainment and cultural attractions — so-called “third places” such as restaurants, cafes and bars where people hang out to socialize, dance, access the Internet, read or even do a little work. And art and historical museums, libraries, theaters and nightclubs for movies, plays and live music.

—Green spaces with parks, trails, gardens and fountains, perfect respites for a couple’s picnic, to take the kids to play, or to walk the dog.

—Economic development initiatives that are growing local economies by one, two and three jobs through strategies such as economic gardening and support for entrepreneurs.

“We are calling on the 95th Legislature, Gov. Jennifer Granholm, the business community, local elected officials and citizens to work together to pass the public policies proposed in the Prosperity Agenda,” Gilmartin said. “We are talking about public policies that will create communities in Michigan for the next 50 years, and not for the past 50 years. The public policies in the Prosperity Agenda will help local governments across the state transform themselves into prospering communities.”

To read the League’s Prosperity Agenda, please visit

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. For more information, visit

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