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Jim Lively: Roll Out the Grand Vision!Print

Thriving Communities | May 17, 2009 | By Jim Lively

The New Designs for Growth handbook could blend with The Grand Vision’s 50-year plan for development in the Grand Traverse region.

On Tuesday May 19th from 6:30 - 8:30 p.m. at the State Theateryou can participate in an historic event: the rollout and celebration of “the final Grand Vision”-a citizen-certified plan for the next 50 years of growth in our six-county region. And the Michigan Land Use Institute is proud to report that it is truly Grand!

We have tirelessly supported the Grand Vision process since its inception. We collaborated with other organizations to design a citizen-led process to find solutions to local traffic congestion other than building a five-lane bypass around Traverse City and an ill-advised bridge over the peaceful Boardman River Valley. We lobbied to redirect federal bypass funding to the study and to expand the study area to include all six area counties instead of just one. We helped ensure the hiring of the nation’s top scenario planning consultants. And we cranked up our communications machine to help get the word out which resulted in more than15,000 people getting engaged in the process.

But we were never sure what future vision people would design. Would they choose continued auto-dependent, land-consuming sprawl or the community design principles we’ve been promoting for 15 years? We didn’t know, but we committed to support the outcome, no matter what it was.

Well, as you’ll see on May 19, people strongly endorsed our principles: Invest and build in cities and villages. Zone to encourage more kinds of housing. In additions to good roads-promote walkability, bikability, bus transit, and rail options for getting around. Grow our local farm and food economy. Invest in clean energy and jobs. And preserve our natural resources.

 We couldn’t be happier. So we hope you’ll join us to celebrate the hard work that has gone into the Grand Vision. And then roll up your sleeves with us for the exciting hard work to come as we prepare to turn the vision into reality.