2015 Community Excellence Award Winner!

Westland City Hall Big Box Retrofit

CEA CupToday, the hulking shell of a vacant big box is enjoying an unlikely second act in Westland. When the retailer left the space empty for nearly a decade, the building might have been destined to fall into disrepair. But rather than let the facility become a long-term eyesore, the city scooped it up and spent $10.1 million, using tax revenues generated by the city’s Tax Increment Finance Authority (TIFA), to transform the drab structure into a 64,000 square-foot City Hall.

The retro-fit is a modern, energy-efficient facility that captures the contemporary, environmentally sustainable city hall styles of today. The new facility houses a state-of–the-art banquet facility, and has become a one-stop shop for residents and businesses to conduct all of their business under one roof. The new location is also giving a much needed economic boost to the city’s shop and dine district, enticing private investors into this emergent sector.

2015 Community Excellence Award Finalists

fundingFlood of Community Benefits Realized for NOCWA Members

North Oakland County Water Authority (NOCWA) is a regional water authority comprised of Auburn Hills, Rochester Hills, Orion Township, Pontiac, and Oakland County Water Resources Commissioner’s Office (Pontiac water system owner/operator). NOCWA was created out of collective concern regarding system reliability, decreased water pressure, rising Detroit Water and Sewerage Department (DWSD) water supplier rates, and overall operating expenses. This win-win partnership illustrates the power of working together to achieve results otherwise unattainable if not for the innovative, collaborative efforts of these communities.

mimTransforming Woodward Together – The Journey to Better Transit

Three newly-elected leaders were inspired to advance not only their own communities, but to transform their region. They rallied together, established guiding principles, and formed a collaborative foundation that unified the 27-mile Woodward Ave. corridor around a shared, common vision of safe, reliable transit options as a “linear city.” They secured funding, engaged the public, produced high quality materials, and positioned the region for a promising future. The momentum, engagement, and results continue — and the long-lasting relationships enable them to embrace new challenges and deliver results together.


Citizen Interaction Design (CID)

Citizen Interaction Design (CID) is a 3-year partnership between the University of Michigan School of Information and the City of Jackson in which university staff and students work with government officials to design information-based solutions to community issues. University staff works with city staff to ensure consistency and continued development of promising projects. Products are designed to be efficient and sustainable, but most importantly, to approach problems from the perspective of a citizen of the 21st century, who relies on information to understand and participate in their community.

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Beautiful parks with lots of fun activities, streets and sidewalks that provide smooth sailing to our destination, and a public safety department that quickly responds when called. These are just some of the elements that make our communities great places to live. But in light of shrinking resources, funding them is another story. That’s where creativity comes into the picture. What cost-saving techniques, processes or collaborations have you put into play to provide the best possible services for current and future residents and businesses?

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In Michigan, we love zipping down the road in our cars, even if we’re just going to the corner store. But increasingly we, and thriving metropolitan regions around the world, are realizing the need for more than one way to get around town. Providing safe, attractive options for pedestrians, bicyclists and public transit riders makes our communities more inviting to people of all ages. How are you encouraging the development and use of multiple modes of transportation in your city or region?


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Laptops, smart phones and other types of technology make it possible for today’s knowledge-based talent to work from just about anywhere. A trendy coffee shop or a comfortable home office fits the bill just as well as a dedicated space at company headquarters. So before even starting the job hunt, many young people first choose where they want to live – vibrant cities with a strong emphasis on arts and culture, physical design and walkability, transit options, connectivity, and an entrepreneurial environment. What amenities is your community developing to attract these talented workers?


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Anyone who has been stuck in traffic behind road, water and sewer construction crews has a pretty good idea how expensive it is to build and repair infrastructure. Smart growth principles can help communities rein in those costs. By encouraging the efficient use of existing infrastructure, cities can keep more money in their coffers, beef-up their tax revenue, and make their residents happy with improved delivery of services. How has your community made the best use of existing infrastructure?


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