League Wins Diamond Award for PlacePlans Work

A Michigan Municipal League program that is making transformational changes in Michigan cities won a top award recently in the 2015 Michigan Society of Association Executives Annual Diamond Awards contest.

September 30, 2015

By: Matt Bach, http://www.mml.org/

Michigan Municipal League, MSHDA, Governor Snyder, MSU are Key Partners in Award-Winning Program

LANSING, Michigan — A Michigan Municipal League program that is making transformational changes in Michigan cities won a top award recently in the 2015 Michigan Society of Association Executives (MSAE) Annual Diamond Awards contest.

The League earned the highest honor—a Diamond Award—for its PlacePlans program in the innovative collaboration category for associations with budgets of $1 million and greater. The League also received a Silver Award for its Review magazine in the magazine publishing category.

The League’s key partners in the PlacePlans programs that greatly contributed to making this effort a collaboration are the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA), Governor Snyder’s MIplace Partnership, Michigan State University’s School of Planning, Design and Construction and the local communities involved in each PlacePlans project.

“There couldn’t be a more fitting category for the PlacePlans work because this effort is truly an innovative collaboration,” said League CEO and Executive Director Dan Gilmartin. “Receiving this statewide honor is the result of the hard work of many people from many different organizations. We certainly could not do this work without the support of MSHDA, Governor Snyder, MSU and the local communities.”

MSHDA has supported the PlacePlans program since its inception three years ago and has been pleased with the results beginning to come to fruition.

“This program is truly making a difference in Michigan communities and MSHDA is excited to be part of the many transformations taking place,” said Gary Heidel, MSHDA’s chief placemaking officer. “We’re pleased that these efforts are being recognized by MSAE and its Diamond Award program.”

The League strongly believes in the concept of placemaking—a new way to define and design our communities for the people who live in them. Research shows that a city’s prosperity and future growth are linked to the quality of human experience it provides.

To support this placemaking work, the League, along with MSU, began the PlacePlans program in 2012 and has since worked in more than 20 communities throughout the state. As a result of this program, in just three short years, transformation projects are taking shape in multiple PlacePlans communities, such as in Cadillac’s Heritage Plaza, and in Allegan, where city leaders are turning its riverfront into a vibrant destination point for residents and visitors.

MSU’s involvement in the PlacePlans work has been led by Warren Rauhe, associate professor, and Wayne Beyea, extension specialist and faculty member for MSU’s School of Planning, Design and Construction.

“Their coordination of our students’ contributions in these communities has be excellent,” said Dr. Scott G. Witter, director for the School of Planning, Design and Construction and interim director of the Land Policy Institute. “For Michigan State University’s School of Planning, Design and Construction, PlacePlans provides a unique opportunity to give our students in-the-field planning experience while simultaneously assisting Michigan communities with concepts and ideas that they have. It’s a win-win for everyone involved.”

In reviewing the PlacePlans Diamond Award submission, one judge said: “This project is a perfect example of how associations drive Michigan and America forward. Great strategy, excellent results, beautiful graphics. Wow! Wow! Wow!” Another judge stated: “This project is hugely impactful to each community who embraces it. Very impressive.”

The 14th Annual Diamond Awards is a program that recognizes the excellence, innovation, and achievements in the association industry and honors outstanding individuals who have made significant contributions to the association profession. This is the third consecutive year in which the League has won at least one Diamond Award.

This year, 61 entries competed in 14 categories within two budget divisions. Entries were carefully reviewed and judged by a panel of established association leaders, specialists, and professionals within each category. The judges’ scores were averaged and the entry that met a 90 percent or higher threshold received a Diamond Award in their respective category.

For more information contact Matt Bach, League Director of Media Relations, at (734) 669-6317 or mbach@mml.org.

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