Hannah McKinney, Vice Mayor of Kalamazoo, Michigan, on engaging residents in the development of a Comprehensive Plan for future sustainable development. See more interviews with local leaders here >>
Hannah McKinney believes that to create strong metropolitan areas in this country we have to focus on creating strong neighborhoods. As Vice Mayor of Kalamazoo, Michigan; she’s working to make that happen in her region.
“That sense of being tied to a physical location is something that, for many people doesn’t exist anymore,” says McKinney, “We need to create neighborhoods that are unique, that are livable.”
An Advisory Board member of Smart Growth America’s Local Leaders Council, Hannah McKinney has served on the City Commission for 16 years. She has a long history of working to make Kalamazoo a great place to live, work, and visit. In 2003, McKinney co-chaired the Convening our Community project; a community-building initiative focused on creating a smart growth report to guide land use decisions. McKinney worked on the city’s Comprehensive Plan update, Downtown Plan, and the creation of a 2010 Master Plan to guide future growth and development, all while protecting Kalamazoo’s unique character – – and that’s only part of it.
Located 25 miles north of Detroit, the city of Rochester Hills, MI may seem like an unlikely place for smart growth to be taking hold. But local residents have taken to smart growth concepts on multiple fronts—from transportation, to preservation of open space to economic development. Rochester Hills Mayor Bryan Barnett, a member of Smart Growth America’s Local Leaders Council, is committed to advancing them even further.
“To me smart growth is a philosophy and it’s a lifestyle,” Barnett says. “It’s not all economic development, it’s not all transportation. It’s about stepping back and looking at how our decisions impact where we want Rochester Hills to be a few years down the road.”
M-1 Streetcar in downtown Detroit. Photo via The Architects Newspaper.
We’ve written before about the M-1 RAIL project and how it is expected to support economic development along Woodward Avenue. The good news is that the City’s ongoing financial troubles are not expected to impact the project’s progress.
A rendering of streetscape plans for Buena Vista Township. Image via MLive.com.
Smart Growth America will meet with residents and leaders of Buena Vista, MI next week to help identify new strategies that could attract business investments and stabilize neighborhoods in the township.
Buena Vista Township residents are invited to join the workshop’s first day for a public presentation on March 5, 2013 from 6-8 PM at the Buena Vista Community Center, 1940 South Outer Drive, Saginaw, Michigan.
LOCUS members at 2012’s Leadership Summit.
LOCUS: Responsible Real Estate Developers and Investors is proud to announce a new series of industry roundtable discussions about improving the federal government’s role in today’s real estate market.
The discussion series will gather leading real estate developers and investors from across the country to address the federal government’s role in real estate, and create solutions to align federal involvement in real estate to better support walkable development across America.
The Department of Transportation’s TIGER Program has announced $25 million in funding to build Detroit M-1 Rail’s 3.3-mile light rail that will run along Woodward Ave. The line will have eleven stations extending from the city’s Downtown to the New Center District.
LOCUS is proud to formally announce that we are expanding our efforts to six key regions across the country with LOCUS state chapters. LOCUS state chapters, working closely with LOCUS members in these states, will complement and enhance our ongoing national work to promote walkable development through education, advocacy, and technical assistance.
We have already begun work in the chapters states of Alabama, California, Georgia, Michigan, Minnesota and Washington. Thank you to the LOCUS members and allies who have met with us in these states thus far.
LOCUS members are invited and encouraged to join the work of these state chapters. If you are not yet a LOCUS member and are interested in joining, submit a membership application today.
Architect’s rendering of the M-1 light rail. Image via M-1 RAIL Summer 2012 Project Update.
A group of private sector leaders in Detroit are looking toward a new light rail project to help revive the fortunes of the former car capital.
The group is so confident in the potential of a line, known as the M-1 light rail, they’ve put up nearly $90 million in private funding to make the project a reality. If successful, the group would set a new precedent for the “rail as economic development” paradigm, and provide a new model for cities across the country looking to catalyze smart growth.
The proposed line would run 3.4 miles along Detroit’s Woodward Avenue from the New Center neighborhood to downtown and the riverfront, connecting some of the city’s biggest attractions and job centers. The line would run curbside along Woodward Avenue and provide connections to Detroit’s People Mover and Amtrak station, as well as a planned regional bus rapid transit system.
The former Michigan Bell and Western Electric Warehouse is being rennovated to become a home for the Neighborhood Service Organization and 155 housing units for homeless individuals. The project is made possible by federal and state historic tax credits, federal brownfields tax credits and a 10-year tax abatement from the City of Detroit. Photo copyright by Michael G. Smith. Used with permission.
New legislation moving through the Michigan State Senate could make it easier for developers to clean up and rebuild on brownfields in the state.
Michigan’s Senate Bill 1210, an amendment to the state’s Brownfield Redevelopment Financing Act (Act 381), is likely to see significant changes this year. If enacted, the bill would promote urban development throughout the state, reduce regulatory requirements, streamline the approval process. Here’s an overview of how.