Entrepreneur conference takes over Port Huron

About 10 people from across the state meandered up to the second floor of Tio Gordos Cocina in Port Huron on Wednesday afternoon.

October 5, 2016

By: , nhayden@gannett.com, Times Herald

About 10 people from across the state meandered up to the second floor of Tio Gordos Cocina in Port Huron on Wednesday afternoon.

Developers, planners and board members from Kalamazoo, Roseville, Detroit, Charlevoix and Fort Gratiot were among the audience and they all had one thing on their mind – placemaking.

Placemaking is the process of creating quality places where people want to live, work, play, shop, learn or visit.

The Connecting Entrepreneurial Communities conference is being hosted in Port Huron this year. It spans Wednesday and Thursday and features between 11 and 15 workshops, such as the placemaking session at Tio Gordos. About 130 people were registered as of Wednesday.

The conference aims to educate communities about the resources available to attract and grow entrepreneurs in their communities and how to make their towns vibrant regardless of size. The conference is hosted by Michigan State University Extension. The conference is hosted in a different emerging community each year. . .

. . .Another big item is creating middle housing options.

While there are many single family homes and many small apartments in not just Fort Gratiot, but all of St. Clair County, there are not as many in-between options. Middle housing options could include condominiums or duplexes that offer a quality living space at an affordable price – an essential tool in attracting young business folks to the area.

Holly Madill, Michigan State University Land Policy Institute specialist, lead the placemaking presentation on Wednesday.

In addition to middle housing options, Madill also discussed how to create walkable towns. She suggested large streets have middle medians, and that downtown businesses have large windows allowing for an open, welcoming feeling.

Missed the first day? While you can only register online for the conference until midnight, you will be able to register for the second day in person by heading to the Port Huron Municipal Office Center at 8:30 a.m., which is when the keynote speech for the day begins. Thursday breakout sessions begin at 9:45 a.m. in various locations in downtown Port Huron.

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