2016 Community Excellence Award Winner!



Beaverton Activity Center, the HUB of Activities

cea-logoIn 2011, a group of Beaverton community members came together to ask themselves this question. Do we want to save a community jewel and create something amazing to serve this low to moderate income and surrounding community? The answer was an overwhelming yes and 5 years later, an all but vacated two story school building was transformed through imagination and collaboration into an inspirational story of success called the Beaverton Activity Center.

This story is about that transformation and the imagination of a community to create something excellent. A $1.3 million dollar transformation from potential destruction, to a vibrant community gathering place bringing with it new hope for one distressed small rural community with a rich heritage bringing hope for the future and all accomplished by volunteers. Read more.  www.beavertonactivitycenter.com

2016 Community Excellence Award Finalists


Washtenaw Coordinated Funders

funding-future-250x250Washtenaw County and the City of Ann Arbor are two of five founding partners of an award-winning public-private human services collaborative funding model called Coordinated Funding. In November of 2010, the five founding partners (Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation, United Way of Washtenaw County, Washtenaw County, the City of Ann Arbor, and the Washtenaw Urban County Executive Committee) agreed to adopt shared safety net focus areas and goals within six priority areas: aging, early childhood, housing & homelessness, hunger relief, safety net health & nutrition, and school-aged youth. Read more.

Goals include:

  1. Understand the full landscape of needs and distribute resources more strategically
  2. Model the collaboration the funders espouse to funded agencies
  3. Leverage each other’s funding and resources
  4. Reduce or eliminate redundancies and streamline processes and procedures
  5. Better coordinate grant-making processes so better informed decisions can be jointly made.


Gibraltar Rotary Kayak Launch

michigan-in-motion-250x250Since 2009, the City of Gibraltar has been in the process of planning, securing funding, engineering and building a public access kayak launch at our City’s Center. The completion of the project was recently achieved. This new ADA compliant and barrier free accessible launch builds on a strong movement in southeast Michigan to take advantage of our greatest natural resource, the Detroit River and Lake Erie basin. Installed in a unique location the building of this launch meets location priorities listed in the Downtown Development Plan and builds off a synergy with adjacent U.S. Fish and Wildlife Properties located to the north, Gibraltar Recreation Properties located to the west, and Huron Clinton Metro Park properties located to the South. The location is also very significant because of the natural canal system located in our City that allows you to kayak from one end of town to another, providing a unique transportation option. Collaboration on funding for the project involved, a significant donation by the Gibraltar/Rockwood Rotary Club, Wayne County Parks Grants, the City of Gibraltar Downtown Development Authority, ACT 51 Non-motorized funding and volunteer efforts. Read more.


Improvement of John R Corridor, Hazel Park

place-for-talent-250x250In the last two years, based on the streamlining of the business process, the City of Hazel Park has attracted unique businesses to the City of Hazel Park such as the 1) award winning new restaurant Mabel Gray, owned and run by one of the best chefs in the country, James Rigato and 2) the award winning microbrewery/meadery, Cellarmen’s; and 3) new art studios.

In addition, through the MML, the Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU) came to Hazel Park and conducted a 3 day public charrette to provide a future concepts and a plan for the John R corridor. The economic development actions and the vision provided by our residents and CNU will provide a basis for excellent placemaking that will attract people throughout the region to the City of Hazel Park. Read more.

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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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