An intense summer rain did nothing to dampen the spirits of the large group gathered at 7th and Franklin in Michigan City on Thursday evening. Michigan City welcomed back Roger Brooks to kick off the public outreach campaign. Brooks will design the downtown civic plaza being built next year. The plans could include a 10,000 square foot ice rink, a full concert stage, and outdoor areas for games like shuffleboard, chess, and checkers. City representatives hope to host a large series of events throughout the year, from art fairs and concerts to local markets and fitness classes where the community can gather and connect.
Brooks drove home the theme that we are in the age of “third places” that are heavily oriented around a community where people can Live, Work, and Play. The generation that will grow the cities of tomorrow are ones that invest in their downtown with places where people can go after work or on the weekends and hang out.
“Plazas, downtown squares, and piazzas historically all throughout Europe are successful because they bring their communities back together,” Brooks said.
Brooks has done work for cities and regions throughout the country, and he was clearly excited about not only the promise for Michigan City, but the real-world progress of seeing the City knock it out of the park with their implementations since 2015. The list of accomplishments is impressive, and Brooks can see the results of their efforts every time he comes back. Michigan City is generating a great impact nationally with real estate investors and companies considering the area. The online message via an impressive array of video, photo, and story content supports the Create, Play, Repeat campaign WeCreate Media has designed and implemented. The My Michigan City campaign “has created more than 100 videos that promote dozens of aspects of the city that have been viewed by 760,000 people, and generated millions of impressions,” and all serve to tell the story Michigan City has to share.
Wade Breitzke of WeCreate Media has expressed much enthusiasm in his role working with Michigan City.
“It’s so exciting to be a small part of the huge revitalization of Michigan City,” Breitzke said. “There is incredible leadership, a dynamic community, and vibrant small businesses coming together and making an incredible impact. A few years from now, we will look back at this moment in time and identify it as the beginning of the journey to the best city in the Midwest.”
Don Babcock, who sees the potential for Michigan City and Northwest Indiana as his core mission, kicked off the event by asking the crowd if they were excited about what is happening. Many shouts and hollers of enthusiasm sounded from a mix of residents, council, chamber, and economic development members, as well as many members of the non-profits, schools, and the business community. Babcock introduced Mayor Ron Meer as a leader “who takes the impossible to the improbable, and ultimately to the inevitable” through his work, and also announced to the crowd that the Mayor was actually celebrating a birthday at the event.
Meer was appreciative of the crowd, the council, and the City who has come together to support all the changes. So many organizations were involved in each of those projects from the council, chamber, arts district, main street association, economic development, community organizations, as well as expert guidance from people like Roger Brooks.
“On August 9, I was born—and I still live, so I have two reasons to be happy today here with all of you to welcome Roger Back to see our progress,” Meer said.
“There has been over one billion dollars invested in Michigan City over those years through private and public development, and we are getting attention from national organizations that see our success in place making,” Meer said. “This Civic Plaza will be the community’s plaza, where we will welcome every resident, and starting today we will be reaching out to every corner of the city to gather their input on what they would like to see develop in the plaza.”
Everyone is working to keep Michigan City on the rise, and the collective power of sharing that story can be seen every day via their website at mymichigancity.com or the multitude of social media outlets on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.
Chris Mahlmann is the founder, CEO, and publisher of the LIFE networks and has developed the industry standard for connecting people with all that is positive in their community. Visit Chris on Google Plus, LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter.
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