LIAA is looking for a Community Planner to help provide the best land-use planning and community development services available in Michigan. This position will help cities, townships, villages and counties across the state work together in developing more sustainable, healthy communities that preserve Michigan’s cultural and natural resources while building greater community resilience.
Published by LIAA, the Michigan Water Trails Manual is a comprehensive how-to guide for Michigan communities interested in developing and promoting their own water trails. As of 2017, Michigan boasts an estimated 2,850 miles of coastal water trails — covering nearly every mile of coastline on both the Upper and Lower Peninsulas — as well as an estimated 1,280 miles of inland water trails. Water trails are located in some of Michigan’s most remote and natural environments as well as in some of the state’s most industrial and urban environments, weaving together Michigan’s beautiful water resources and its communities. The rise of interest in water trails can be attributed to many factors, including the relatively low cost of paddling equipment, the popularity of paddling for people of all ages and abilities, and the ability to easily access Michigan’s vast freshwater resources. In addition, water trails provide a great opportunity for communities to establish and strengthen their identity, attract tourists, promote healthy lifestyles, and grow their local and regional economy. Here’s to many more trails to explore and enjoy in the Water Trail State! Download the Michigan Water Trails Manual here.
The UpNorth Media Center at LIAA got the chance to team up with Right Tree, a girls empowerment camp in Elk Rapids, MI. The goal of this partnership was to teach the campers about careers in video production and create a girls empowerment video for distribution online. Right Tree aims to teaches girls about breaking down barriers and one of the was they do this is by introducing them to careers in science, technology, engineering and manufacturing. UpNorth Media Center helped to coordinate a curriculum for two days of teaching the process of video production.
Never one to remain stationary for long, LIAA's former Executive Director Joe VanderMeulen quickly found many ways to continue his efforts to inform and engage people with their communities and environment after leaving LIAA in 2014. His latest effort is an online magazine called Nature Change: Conversations on Conservation and Climate.
A new website for the Michigan Agritourism Association (MATA) is now available for the 2016 summer agriculture season! Discover Michigan Farm Fun offers visitors several ways to find MATA members -- such as farms, food producers, places to stay, brewers, vintners, and cider makers, among many others -- that celebrate the amazing diversity of Michigan's agricultural offerings. Website users can search by product or region, find events of interest, and create a custom itinerary as they browse the site. The website can be easily updated by MATA staff.
LIAA’s UpNorth Media Center hosts and operates the public- and government-access television channels for all of northwest Lower Michigan, from Manistee to the Mackinac Bridge. Participating jurisdictions include the City of Traverse City and the Charter Townships of East Bay, Elmwood and Garfield. Grand Traverse County also televises meetings from six of its commissions.
In late April, LIAA had the opportunity to attend and present at the 2015 American Planning Association Annual Conference in Seattle. The overall theme of the national planning conference centered on sustainability.
On March 23 and 24, LIAA will be hosting a charrette for community members from jurisdictions surrounding Fort Custer Training Center, a Michigan Army National Guard facility. The charrette is part of a larger visioning project for three of Michigan’s National Guard facilities – Fort Custer, Selfridge Air National Guard Base, and Camp Grayling. The goal of the project is to make these facilities more resilient to potential shocks now and far into the future. The state of Michigan has been selected to participate in this exciting demonstration project focused on integrating resilience planning into Department of Defense operations and installations. This spring, LIAA will be leading similar charrettes at Camp Grayling and Selfridge Air National Guard Base.
After years of public input, planning and fundraising, one of the centerpieces of the Historic Barns Park redevelopment in Traverse City welcomed its first event on February 1. The 2015 Women's Winter Tour culminated inside the majestic Cathedral Barn, where hundreds of skiers and snowshoers warmed up with food, beverages and dancing. Following an intensive public visioning process, the joint City of Traverse City and Charter Township of Garfield Recreational Authority raised $800,000 to restore the 1930s-era barn as a public event space, with the goal of generating rental revenue to sustain and maintain the building for future generations. LIAA provides executive management services for the Authority.
LIAA recently signed on to work with the North County Trails Association to help develop a comprehensive Trail Town Handbook for communities along the North Country Trail. “Trail Towns” is an increasingly used economic development strategy designed to help communities along a local or regional trail system maximize the economic potential of trail-based tourism.
On January 22, residents and business owners in the greater St. Joseph area came together to lay out a future vision for the St. Joseph harbor area. This harbor visioning meeting is part of the larger land use planning process called Resilient St. Joseph, which will result in a new Master Plan for the City and will provide guidance for successful community development in the years to come.
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