Take a look around your neighborhood. Consider the buildings, homes and storefronts you pass on your work commute. How do these surroundings affect you and your family, and what factors ultimately make a community work? What makes you feel good to see in a community, and what would you do to make a vacant or blighted space a little (or a lot!) better? What resources are available to support your ideas and dreams? Where do you even start?
Communities and neighborhoods go through transitions. Vacancy and blight can make us feel unsafe or disillusioned. It can also be an empty canvas, providing an opportunity to plan the future of our communities as we hope they will become. There is no one solution or single organization that can replan and rebuild Michigan communities. Successful placemaking is driven by the people who live and work there, who know the unique personalities and assets of each space, and by active partnerships that protect our investments and the places we call home.
The Michigan Vacant Property Campaign (MVPC) is currently facilitating regional roundtables across the state as an outlet for community stakeholders to take local ownership over vacant property and blight issues. The regional roundtables are scheduled to generate dialogue surrounding innovative strategies and available assistance for addressing vacancy and blight. The discussions will be the first step for communities interested in utilizing the resources available from the MVPC. In the next several years, the MVPC will provide assistance and advocacy to local communities to create innovate and tailored solutions to specific vacancy and blight issues across the state. Roundtables have taken place in Grand Rapids (West Michigan), Marquette (Upper Peninsula) and Oak Park (Metro Detroit), bringing together community leaders across sectors, including representatives from municipal governments, nonprofits and Community Development Corporations, neighborhood associations, block clubs, religious institutions, local businesses and property holders. By seizing the opportunity to be a part of conversations like these, we can only begin to imagine the beautiful partnerships and vibrant communities that will foster sustainable growth and solutions to vacancy and blight issues.
Because each region is unique, the roundtables have been scheduled across the state at locations convenient for local stakeholders. Be a part of the change by joining us at one of the remaining roundtables and joining the campaign.
Kalamazoo: November 16, 2 – 4 PM at Southwest Michigan First
Traverse City: November 29, 2-4 PM at Traverse City Michigan Works!
Flint: December 4, 2-4 PM at Mott Community College Regional Technology Center Auditorium
*Notice that the location of Flint roundtable has been changed to Mott Community College.
Are you interested in attending and want to RSVP? Do you have any questions about the campaign and what it may mean for you? Did you miss your roundtable and want to know how you can be involved? Contact Claire Glenn, Special Projects Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org