City of Cadillac embraces placemaking principles in creation of popular Cadillac Commons

The Cadillac Commons site is to be a year-round destination and downtown hub, hosting seasonal events and providing an attractive connection between the businesses on Cadillac’s main street, Mitchell Street and Lake Cadillac one block to the west.

November 1, 2017 - Author: Heidi Macwan

Photo of the gated entryway for Cadillac Commons in downtown Cadillac, showing the alley and back side of buildings impacted by this redevelopment project.
Entryway for Cadillac Commons in downtown Cadillac. Photo courtesy of the Michigan Municipal League.

In June 2017, Cadillac’s City Manager Marcus Peccia was presented with the Michigan Municipal League’s Community Builder Award at the MML Spring meeting in Lansing. Peccia was honored for his leadership in developing Cadillac Commons, an innovative placemkaing project in downtown Cadillac.

In 2014, as part of the MIplace Partnership Initiative, Cadillac worked with the Michigan Municipal League and MSU’s School of Planning, Design and Construction to develop the “Heritage Plaza” PlacePlan for what is now called Cadillac Commons.

With input from residents and business owners at multiple community meetings, Cadillac worked with MML and SPDC to envision a redesign of a lakeside block of downtown Cadillac. This area was being used for an alley, a parking lot and City Park.

The Cadillac Commons site is to be a year-round destination and downtown hub, hosting seasonal events and providing an attractive connection between the businesses on Cadillac’s main street, Mitchell Street and Lake Cadillac one block to the west.

In 2015, thanks in part to the PlacePlan process and a successful crowdfunding campaign, reconstruction of the Rotary Performing Arts Pavilion took place.

Then, in 2016, the parking lot for the Plaza was reconfigured to make the area easily traversable by pedestrians and amenable to the potential patio seating for the rear of the Mitchell Street businesses that border the site. The alley was completely rebuilt, electric lines buried and the alley was integrated with the rest of the site.

Finally, in mid- to late-2016, a fire pit, splash pad and skating rink that captured so much public support during plan development were constructed.

On Sept. 18, 2017, a groundbreaking occurred for The Market at Cadillac Commons, which will become an open-air Farmers Market. It is adjacent and expands the Cadillac Commons significantly. Following this event, a plaque from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation for the Rotary Pavilion was dedicated, honoring the people who provided funding support for this part of the project.

The placemaking principles featured in the Cadillac Commons project are highlighted in the Land Policy Institute’s Placemaking Guidebook, which is available to order for free. You can learn how to achieve similar success in your own community.

Congratulations to the City of Cadillac for their successful placemaking efforts!

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