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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

What it Takes to Start a Business

Here is a great article about the personality needed to successfully start a business.  I'm sure we have people with these traits in Rogers City!

February 23, 2012, 7:00 am

Six Attributes of Successful Entrepreneurs

Thinking Entrepreneur
An owner’s dispatches from the front lines.

I recently read an article in The New York Times about a program that had been proving for many years what lots of people had long suspected — that SAT scores are not necessarily great predictors of college success. The piece got me thinking about my own observations about the relationship between college success and entrepreneurial success. Or perhaps I should say the lack of a relationship.
Choosing entrepreneurship might be one of the most simple and pure adventures you can take. No permission needed, no essays to write, no tests to take, no interviews to get through, no one to tell you what to do or what not to do — and of course no one else to take the credit or blame.
You need only the possibly crazy notion that someone wants to pay you money for your goods or services — and the guts to quit your job, sign the lease, borrow some money, spend the money and tell your spouse, parents, and/or parole officer. For some, this is invigorating. For others it is intimidating. It can be both. Certainly, it is very different from the more predictable paths of going to graduate school or getting a job.
As I said, in my 30 years in business, I have never seen a relationship between being a good student and being a successful entrepreneur. If anything, there might be some correlation between people who were bored or annoyed with school and people who succeed in their own businesses. I have my own theory that I have shared with college classes over the years — often at schools that would not have admitted me as a student but are happy to have me speak to their students.
I always enjoy telling the soon-to-be graduates that if they decide to go into business for themselves, the straight-A students will no longer have the advantage. While it certainly doesn’t hurt to be smart, I find that it is not enough — just as being tall isn’t enough to make you a basketball player. I believe successful entrepreneurs are likely to have six attributes that they don’t test for in school. Many people don’t know if they have these attributes until they take the leap.
1. Ambition. Most people believe they are ambitious, I think. But there is ambitious, and then there is 70-hour-a-week obsessive, driven, hungry ambitious. Can you make it if you are just kind of ambitious? Probably, in some cases. But most successful entrepreneurs I know paid some serious dues. They did not want to be successful, they needed to be successful.
2. Creativity. I’m not talking about painting a picture or writing a love song. I’m talking about coming up with innovative ideas about marketing, management or finance (preferably not too creative in finance). Not all business schools do enough to encourage creativity, but it can really bloom in a business and have a huge impact on its success.
3. Tenacity. I did not know this when I started, but tenacity is critical to starting and staying in business. Rookie entrepreneurs make many mistakes, and they have to be fixed. Plus, bad things and bad economies happen, and they have to be survived. Being stubborn can be a terrible attribute to have in school — but a great asset in business.
4. Risk tolerance. It is almost impossible to go into business without taking risk, and it doesn’t necessarily get better along the way. Bigger buildings, more employees, more expensive computer systems, the list goes on and on. Some people can’t handle having a credit card balance, and other people can borrow big money without hesitation. Some people obsess about everything that can go wrong, some people don’t think about it or are confident they can deal with whatever happens. Nature or nurture? Don’t know. Doesn’t really matter. What does matter is that you know your own tolerance. Again, this is not tested in school.
5. Intuition. Some people are just better at seeing what is coming down the road and coming up with the right answers to vague questions. Think Steve Jobs. Even just a little bit of Steve Jobs can go a long way.
6. Personality. You remember the person who was always the life of the party in college but almost didn’t graduate? That person might be a successful entrepreneur (or might be living in a van down by the river). The meek may inherit the earth, but they are probably not going to be entrepreneurs. For an entrepreneur, an optimistic personality is a gift — and an occupational hazard.
That’s my list. It is the product of many years of observation and self-analysis. It is not scientific. I can’t prove any of this. But no animals were harmed, and the government was not involved. Let me know what you think — especially if you are a successful (or unsuccessful) entrepreneur.
Jay Goltz owns five small businesses in Chicago.

Importance of City Parks

Below are selections from an article by Larry Houstoun

Secondhand Parks: New Opportunities for Urban Public Spaces

Opportunities that residents need and like

by Larry Houstoun
Urban public spaces are parks and plazas within walking distance of major concentrations of people, leisure places that can be reached on foot or by bike or public transit. They can be destinations where people go to have fun or they can be urban linear parks that take people somewhere else. Urban public spaces in America are as old as Savannah’s colonial public squares. In the 21st century, the unprecedented expansion of populations in and near downtowns has triggered the generation of new and more popular urban spaces in communities large and small.
Within the past 50 years, the composition and number of urban open space users have changed greatly. As demand and preferences change, so have park design and responsibilities for care and financing, along with expectations about users. This article is about changes in urban open spaces and leading ideas for expanding and adapting this essential amenity.
Today, more are being created, they are closer to their beneficiaries, they offer greater benefits to nearby properties, and they reflect greater concern about the quality of urban life. Importantly, they display civic imagination at its best.

Here are nine of the changes that are shaping urban open spaces today:
New Residents
First has been the change in local government populations. Locality centers are drawing residents in unprecedented numbers, households that can afford to live almost anywhere. They include all ages. As a generalization, people aren’t moving to communities for employment opportunities; many of them have had a net job loss. The new migration is largely amenity driven. There are more amenities per square mile in metropolitan centers than elsewhere in their regions.
New Places
Urban public spaces are cropping up in new places as civic leaders see the opportunities for leisure where manufacturing, commerce, and transportation had long dominated. Reusing municipal streets has been successful in Manchester, England, where a new street was created in order make it into a pedestrian way. Another such street was created on one of New York City’s busiest streets. So crowded by cars was Broadway at Times Square that the intersection was considered obsolete.
Boston built a linear pedestrian way over a subway tunnel and a destination park over a reconstructed parking garage. Hartford has created an elevated park over a rail line and a highway, one that that connects the commercial center with the Connecticut River. Earlier, San Francisco created pocket parks by replacing one or two parking spaces in some blocks with small leisure places.
In Arlington County, Virginia, athletic fields have been created out of a former PCB-filled brownfield. Inserted between a major highway and active CSX tracks and beneath the flight path of planes leaving Reagan National Airport, in an all but forgotten dump, the county park has already seen soccer competitions. Nearby Marymount University has shared some of the acquisition and development costs and will use the park as its home field for lacrosse and soccer games. The area of the worst lead contamination is beneath the small, paved parking lot.
New Sponsors
Entities other than general governments have become the creators, designers, and maintainers of urban public spaces. At one time people looked exclusively to governments to fulfill these responsibilities, but today the largest and best-financed of the business improvement districts (BIDs) are seeing the creation or re-creation of parks as important elements of their overall economic missions. Real estate interests have paid to restore such parks as New York’s Bryant Park, capturing the value added to nearby buildings as bait for higher office rentals.
New Tests for Success
In decades past, success was measured by such tests as “Are they cheap to maintain?” Today, public spaces are being examined in terms of their benefits to residents, to visitors, and to real estate values. Are they well used?
Success is measured by numbers of users. If urban public spaces are crowded, they are successful. People are not satisfied with mere space fillers, those vacuous, tax-exempt places where the public cost of security and maintenance far exceeds their civic benefits. In pursuit of low-cost maintenance, many localities simply poured concrete and installed inhospitable benches that seemed to attract only panhandlers.
Urban public spaces enrich host communities, serving as rarely acknowledged economic assets. City Beautiful, a 2008 report published by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, described a study of 250 metropolitan areas that found that the extent of amenities present, including parks, produced the third-highest rates of growth. Convenience of parks and golf courses were among the 15 factors studied. The report urged officials to invest more in recreational capital as the digital age has produced new priorities for selecting residence and work locations.
New Reuse Opportunities
Just as new concentrations of amenities attract newcomers to downtown, changing economic purposes have made redundant and reusable land and structures available to accommodate increased population and expanded leisure facilities. The decaying waterfront in Wilmington, Delaware, has been transformed into a mixed-use complex with an active theater company, farmers market, restaurants, minor league baseball stadium, and a river-edge walkway. Washington D.C.’s Anacostia River sports a handsome new water-edge park in a segment of the river earlier considered useless and virtually poisonous.
New Opportunities
Two major forces contributed to the urban real estate revolution benefiting urban centers. First, the commercial centers of U.S. cities were grossly overbuilt a century ago for today’s retail markets and are obsolete for today’s office requirements. Retail stores were replaced by vacant lots. With dwindling demand for small-office space and much shopping moved to out-of-town locations, land prices crashed in downtowns. Yet arts and cultural institutions kept alive by public and private subsidies continued to draw culture patrons to eating and drinking establishments.
Second, tastes change. Old is in. Suburban life palled. Downtown property had become inexpensive, and New York’s success with converting attractive older office towers into popular residential units stimulated conversions elsewhere. About the only asset missing was readily accessible leisure space, and urban centers began to overcome that deficiency.
New Values
Decades of fear of crime had dampened enthusiasm for living and visiting downtowns. This concern has since passed in all but a few commercial centers. Five years ago, a survey of those who newly moved into central Philadelphia listed the neighborhood’s absence of crime, second only to walking to work, as the two principal appeals of inner-city living.
Newcomers found that handsome town houses and apartment towers were appealing and affordable. Suddenly central cities bloomed with strollers and pets and new restaurants and swanky town houses. Demand has spread to additional blocks and long-dormant neighborhoods. Once marked by widespread blight, downtowns have become the metropolitan centers of places to have fun. The Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway in downtown Boston is an economic generator, attracting hordes of tourists and residents to its varied attractions, even in winter.
New Appreciation for Communities
In the scramble for park financing, more costs are being shared with nonprofit corporations, developers, and other businesses. Owners of substantial structures are paying for air rights to build along side of or above New York’s High Line, and BIDs are recreating, maintaining, and programming long-neglected parks in Philadelphia and elsewhere. The increasingly shared financing with nongovernmental entities may also produce more shared responsibility for open space governance.
A mixed board of directors—local officials and assessed property owners—illustrates a decision-making structure that is a promising improvement over one composed of only government or only residents. Although BIDs are not entirely composed of leisure facilities, the public-private successes of more than 1,000 BIDs are impressive. Most BIDs are authorized to finance urban open spaces.
New Places for Urban Spaces
Probably the most remarkable new urban space in America is Manhattan’s High Line, an abandoned, elevated freight line that served the Meatpacking District for a half century. Traveling at approximately the third-story level, the High Line made it possible to make pickups and deliveries by rail at the sides of warehouse-style structures.
In one instance, the tracks passed entirely through a building, adding interest to what has become a national attraction, an elevated and landscaped linear park. Confirming what scores of real estate studies have shown, the elevated park has stimulated billions in private investment in a district previously known as a neighborhood eyesore. On a sunny Saturday in late November, the place is mobbed.
Central Philadelphia sits between two rivers. At the westerly one, the Schuylkill, a linear park shares space with an active freight line. Along the Schuylkill, the first of several planned segments of an urban linear park has been cleaned, landscaped, and expanded, linking residential centers to 25 miles of trails to Norristown and Valley Forge.
The trail follows CSX on the city side and overlooks the new 25-acre recreation space between the river and the University of Pennsylvania, a reuse of land long occupied by rail yards serving U.S. mail trains. Plans call for pedestrian bridges linking the east and west sides of the Schuylkill and at least one segment to be cantilevered over the river to permit people to pass uninterrupted around a still-active factory. The responsible nonprofit corporation, Schuylkill Banks, encourages fishing and conducts boat tours among various historic points of interest along the shore.
On the east side, a former shipping pier has been converted to a half-acre park complete with grassy slopes, trees, and seating for public presentations and river watching. The Race Street Pier Park is an early phase of a seven-mile linear park.
Can We Capture More of This Resource?
The supply of abandoned or undesirable urban land seems inexhaustible at the metropolitan centers. When rail transportation was an essential resource, for example, rail lines converged at the centers. Much of that redundancy remains unused.
Similarly, there is little evidence that the residential appeal of these centers will diminish as it is principally appealing to the three-quarters of American households who are without children and even some who have them. The National Association of Realtors released a study of householders suggesting a rosy future for inner-city living. Its 2011 survey reported, for example, that people want a park within a three-minute walk. That’s not a prescription for a low-density, suburban lifestyle.
Mixed uses are especially important for successful parks. The late urbanist Jane Jacobs, upon studying a park that was particularly popular, observed that users were continually coming and going—early morning dog walkers, then businesspeople walking to work, then mothers tending children, then sunbathers, and so on.
She noted that mixed uses produced a constant flow of users, the ultimate test and unlikely where a park attracts only baby tenders or office workers. Jacobs wrote that the greatest influence on park use is the number and variety of potential users in the surrounding blocks, much more so than what is in the park.
Philadelphia has begun a process that other towns and cities would do well to watch. A complete inventory of land potentially converted to urban open space (from concrete playgrounds) has been completed for the entire community, and the city has set bold, yet attainable goals that all residents should have a park within a half-mile walk of their homes.
Maps in Philadelphia’s 2010 report show where this standard is met and where it is not. Although much work has been accomplished in center city, some large opportunities exist despite the existing density. An elevated, abandoned rail line, for example, remains unused and is highly suitable for conversion to open space.
Urban public spaces attract and retain populations. They help support local growth, and living is healthful and stimulating. Parks make better neighbors than all that wasted land we’ve inherited. This may be a golden age in terms of the accessibility, utility, and popularity of urban public spaces. Business and governments should treat these amenities as investments in economic development and antidotes to sprawl.
Walkable has replaced driveable among the baby-boomer and millennial generations in selecting residential locations, wrote Charles B. Leinberger in the November 25, 2011, New York Times opinion piece, “The Death of the Fringe Suburb.” Conversion of secondhand land to urban public spaces is a wise course for this century.
Lawrence Houstoun is partner, The BID Experts, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (lhoustounjr@verizon.net).

As gas prices and the cost of transportation continue to increase, walking remains a great way to get around, get exercise, and have fun!

Rogers City is the "City of Parks and Trails."

Monday, February 27, 2012

"Michigan Moment" Detroit News Article

Here is a very interesting article from the Detroit News:
February 24, 2012 at 8:27 am

Demand for manufacturing may set stage for 'Michigan moment'

Bruce Katz seems an unlikely prophet until you hear his message: Old Economy manufacturing in Michigan isn't the dead end of the past generation so much as the platform for a new era of growth, innovation and competitiveness.
Ridiculous fantasy rooted in an election-year partisan political agenda? The academic ravings of the Brookings Institution analyst that he is? An unconvincing spin on an inexorable tale of decline unspooling since the early days of the Nixon administration?
Not so fast, particularly because manufacturing and the innovation that drives it isn't really Old Economy at all — as a test-drive in a Chevrolet Volt extended-range hybrid or the latest hip implant from Stryker Corp., to name just two of many examples, ably attest.
The Big Mitten's recovery from the nastiest recession since the Great Depression ranks second in the nation, powered in part by the Detroit auto industry's surprising revival. Michigan and key metro areas like Detroit and Ann Arbor outpace the nation in patent applications, an educated immigrant population and a diverse set of companies driving export growth.
"The next economy will be oriented toward innovation, particularly in the manufacturing sector," says a Brookings study prepared in partnership with Business Leaders for Michigan and released Thursday. "The next economy will demand and reward global engagement, including exports to take advantage of growing global demand."
Adds Katz, vice president and director of Brookings' Metropolitan Policy Program: "Your base is a pretty darn good base. You are what other states want to be. The U.S. economy is shifting in ways, post-recession, that play to the strengths of this state. This could be a Michigan moment."
Excuse me: "You are what other states want to be" and "Michigan moment?" Here in the factory of the "Lost Decade," the epicenter of 2 million jobs lost, the home of the poorest major city in America? Here where too many young people still don't finish high school, too few complete college and not enough seem to understand that the good ol' days are gone for good?
Yep, here, if you can loose the shackles to the past, shed the zero-sum games of us-vs-them confrontation and grasp that an emerging set of 21st-century values could be skewing in favor of what this place does best: researching, designing, engineering and building products for sale around the world.
Here if the cultural bias against educational achievement and in favor of cradle-to-grave corporate coddling can be relegated finally to the past, where they belong. Here if disparate constituencies — business and higher education, organized labor and non-profits — can coalesce behind a vision that sees wealth creation in making things.
Making things, real things, of steel and electronics, chemicals and pharmaceuticals, is cool again. A generation of tilting toward the post-industrial economy, exemplified by a go-go Wall Street culture rewarding creative destruction while the rest lived with the consequences, is undergoing an unforgiving reappraisal.
So are the clueless consumerism and I-deserve-mine entitlement saddling personal and public balance sheets with too much debt too quickly; the post-industrial narcissism exemplified by Facebook-├╝berall and the belief that politicians can make smart business decisions; the sense that functioning, prosperous societies can stay that way by sating their appetite for manufactured goods from markets outside their own.
Emerging foreign rivals aren't challenging American supremacy in investment banking or social networking. They're challenging the auto and aerospace sectors, the high tech and clean energy plays, the innovation and research advances that together combine to keep the United States the world's largest exporter. Still.
That's an opportunity that a growing number of business leaders and economists see with increasing clarity. Their vision is not enough to persuade regular folks that this time could be different — but it can be. The world is changing, and a battered Michigan has a great chance to be part of it.
(313) 222-2106

2012 Building Michigan Communities Conference

Registration for the 2012 Building Michigan Communities Conference (formerly known as the Michigan Conference on Affordable Housing) is now open! The conference is being held April 23-25 at the Lansing Center in Lansing, MI

This will be another exciting conference!  Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley and MSHDA Executive Director Gary Heidel will kick-off the conference at the Monday morning breakfast.  The Monday lunch keynote speaker will be Liz Murray, author of the book “From Homeless to Harvard”

We will again have the Tuesday Awards Luncheon, at which time the planning committee will again award the coveted Duvernay Award, along with a variety of awards by various planning committee member organizations.

On Wednesday, come to the breakfast and hear Anneshia Freeman, author of the book “The Lies That Bind”.  The conference will close with a keynote address at the Wednesday lunch by Bill Strickland, President and CEO of the Manchester Bidwell Corporation and the author of “Making the Impossible Possible”.

Along with changing the name of the conference, the sessions are organized somewhat differently.  There will still be a wide variety of sessions, covering the following categories:

·       Housing – Multi-family

·       Housing – Homeownership

·       Assets – Organizational Development

·       Assets – Vibrant Communities

·       People – Ending Homelessness

·       People – Assets

When you look at the session time slots, you will see some other changes from past conferences.  Rather than all sessions being 90 minutes as we typically do, there is a variety of times for sessions.  Monday will feature a number of 30 minute and 75 minute sessions, Tuesday will feature 90 minute sessions, and Wednesday will feature both 90 minute sessions as well as sessions that will go over 3 hours.  Whether you are looking for a quick introduction to topics or a very in-depth review, this conference will provide you those opportunities.

With an annual attendance of 1,600 to 1,700 people, this conference continues to provide a significant opportunity for networking, building partnerships, and spending time with friends and colleagues from across the state!

You can get the details on the specific sessions as well as more details regarding the conference in the attached registration brochure.  You can also get these details and register for the conference at www.housingconference.org.

Jess Sobel
Building Michigan Communities Conference Planning Committee Chairperson
Internal Operations Manager, Community Development Division
Michigan State Housing Development Authority

ph 517.241.0453   fx 517.241.6672

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Use Social Media to Market your Business!

Here is an announcement that may help your business!

From: Helen Leithauser [mailto:hleithauser@ncmich.edu]  

North Central’s Corporate & Community Education Department will host a hands-on workshop to help small and mid-size businesses use social media to expand their markets.   Sign up using the registration form attached or call us to sign up by phone.  Take a 10% discount if you sign up with a friend or if you sign up for more than one workshop. 

Using Social Media to Market Your Business
Friday, March 9

9 a.m.- 4 p.m. (includes 1 hour lunch break)              $65  (10% discount for multiple registrations)

Learn how social media can transform your business. Understand the differences in digital communication; develop a winning social media marketing plan, engage your audience, enhance your on-line presence, monitor trends and increase your customer base.  Instructor: Keith Schmidt runs New Focus Creative specializes in building web and iPhone apps with advanced interaction, e-commerce, email marketing and content management.  His customers include Mapquest.com and Disney.com, as well as many small and midsized businesses. 

Please forward to coworkers, friends or other members of your organization.  If you would like a printed schedule of workshops, please call us.  Hope to see you there!

 Helen Leithauser
Corporate & Community Education
North Central Michigan College
1515 Howard Street – Petoskey, MI 49770
Phone & FAX: 231-348-6705

Proposed City Council Goals

Below is a list of proposed City Council Goals.  The Council will discuss these goals at the meeting tonight, and they may take action to approve or amend them.  Public Comment is welcome.

All Goals (not in priority order)
Current Status/Notes

Projects (Goals with end date)

Project 1: Move DPW to Industrial Park and Restore Site
This project has a completed conceptual design; however, detailed design work has not been accomplished.  Council has authorized use of Lot Number 2 in the Industrial Park for storage of DPW bulk material and designated this lot as the location for a possible new DPW facility.  The cost of the new facility and cleanup of the old DPW site is estimated to be about $1 million.  A low interest rate, long term USDA loan is a likely source to finance this project.  City Council: retain goal

Project 2:  Fill City Industrial Lots with Value-Added Uses
Lots 1-4 were proposed and available for development.  Lot 1 is now being used for the new water tower. Lot 2 is reserved for a future DPW facility location.   The RCAFDA has acquired lot 4 for a new Fire Hall opposite the Ambulance Building.  Lot 3 is available for development. Wayne Hewitt is interested in lot 3 to build an expanded recycling facility.  Wayne is seeking funding for this project. This goal is about 75% completed. City Council: Work with Mr. Hewitt, to sign an agreement to develop the property. 

Project 3: Connect Airport Road to BR-23
C2AE estimated project cost of $500,000.  MEDC funding possible if Wolverine announces.  Carmeuse officials may help with construction of this road.  As an alternative route, DPW has opened a gravel drive from the end of Park Drive to BR-23. This project is on hold pending an announcement from Wolverine.     

Project 4: Complete USDA Capital Improvements
The project for construction of water and sewer improvements is nearing completion.  Three contracts totaling $7.1 million in USDA funding along with a $750,000 ICE grant have been appropriated.  Construction of a new water tower, lift station, water and sewer mains are complete.  A settlement of final completion payments is in work.  Renovation of the Wastewater Treatment Plant is about 80% complete. New wells are in development.  This project is scheduled for completion in 2012.  No action necessary at this time.

Projects (Goals with end date)
Current Status/Notes

Project 5: Safe Routes to School and sidewalk repairs
A SR2S program was started in 2007 (see ongoing #3, below). The SR2S Team completed planning and obtained three grants, including a major award of $373,000 with construction planned for 2012.  Construction of approximately 4,500 lineal feet of sidewalk is planned in various locations.  The sidewalk repair program is on-going.  An estimated $800,000 in additional funding will be needed to repair existing sidewalks. City Council: continue sidewalk repair program.  

Project 6: Traffic Calming and Infrastructure Improvements on
Bradley Highway (US-23) Note:
This project will be documented in the Pedestrian Street Plan (PSP). The intent of the PSP is to position Rogers City to apply for MDOT Transportation Enhancement Grant funding for the US-23 corridor.  This funding would allow completion of major parts of the PSP.
To improve the US-23 commercial corridor in cooperation with right-of-way owner (MDOT). The goal is to reduce traffic speeds and obtain more traffic volume stopping at Rogers City commercial destinations.  Long-term vision includes: improved street lighting, pedestrian pathways, pocket parks with benches and trash cans, improved signage and links to existing amenities and trails, and decorative landscaping. City officials are in discussions with the Shopping Center owners to resolve intersection issues. This project is in early planning stage with a conceptual plan in draft. With approval of the concept plan, a detailed project plan could begin with a budget for planning. Hiring a professional consultant is recommended, but not required. City Council: continue planning.

NEW Project 7: Grow Population
Rogers City has lost population each decade going back to 1950 as local jobs declined.  Council created a “Growth Committee” to evaluate means to reverse the trend.  The Growth Committee has been meeting every month and investigating various means to grow the community. City Council: continue this project.

NEW Project 8: Street Rebuilding
Council members requested City Staff to investigate options for rebuilding deteriorated streets.  Existing street funds are insufficient to make major improvements.  Options to fund street rebuilding include borrowing, a street millage, special assessments, grant funding, and/or a combination of the above.  City Council: investigate voter referendum language on a proposed project to rebuild streets and hold a public workshop.

Projects (Goals with end date)

Current Status/Notes

New Project 9: Transportation Asset Management Plan
To achieve the maximum longevity from the street system, a detailed Transportation Asset Management (TAM) plan needs to be crafted.  Toby has developed some of the information needed for a TAM plan; however, additional work needs to be done.  He is willing to do the work, but would like a commitment from City Council that they will adopt the TAM philosophy:  preservation is the priority, not rebuilding.  If he develops a plan, but all the funding goes to rebuilding, then the planning effort will be wasted.
City Council: develop a TAM plan (see Goal #8).

New Project 10:  Complete Streets Ordinance
In 2011, City Council passed a resolution authorizing staff to develop a Complete Street Ordinance.  This ordinance will provide guidance on future improvements of the city’s transportation system.  It will require considerable staff time to draft a Complete Street Ordinance for Council review. This ordinance will be a companion piece to the Pedestrian Street Plan (PSP) that identifies specific improvements desired for build-out over time.  The ordinance will define how the specific improvements will be constructed (minimum Standards, for example, Street width, sidewalk width, etc.).  City Council: proceed with a Complete Streets Ordinance, but not a priority.

New Project 11:  Comprehensive Plan (Master Plan)
The Comprehensive Plan, also known as the Master Plan, was last updated in 2006 and is out of date.  A request for CZM funds will be attempted in 2012.  Regardless of grant funding, the City should proceed with a project to update the Master Plan.  The Master Plan update will probably cost about $15,000, using NEMCOG assistance. If grant funding is unavailable, the City can make progress toward a Master Plan update through the Pedestrian Street Plan which will become a part of the Master Plan.  The project may be accomplished over two or more years.  If grant funding becomes available, planning may accelerate.  City Council: proceed with a Master Plan update as resources allow.

Projects (Goals with end date)

Current Status/Notes

New Project 12: Computer Update
A specific project to purchase computer software and hardware to upgrade the City’s aging technology has been in planning during 2011.  Staff has a proposal from our computer maintenance support system contractor, Integrated Systems Consultant (ISC).  ISC recommends a new server, three new PCs, 15 sets of software, along with other items for about $29,000.  ICS indicated a price break probably will become available, if we move in the spring of 2012.  City Council: obtain a proposal for purchase (see ongoing goal #4).

New Project 13:Economic Development
City Council: Delete from goals

New Project 14: Trail Link at Marina
Last year City Council rejected a proposal to acquire bank-owned property (formerly Vogelheim) to link the Huron Sunrise Trail into the Marina.  Deb Greene and Beach Hall asked me to bring forward a modified proposal for this site, which has languished for decades, but could be an economic stimulus for the city.  A new approach to move this central property to develop, provide a valuable community recreational feature, and create an attraction for tourism is to acquire only a 20-30 foot easement for a trail link, leaving the remaining acreage for private development. Bank officials have indicated a willingness to consider this option, depending on details. The project would only move forward with successful application for a MDNR land acquisition grant with matching funds from another grant (MEDC, CZM, GLRI). Other communities in Michigan have used this method to obtain substantial community improvements at very low cost to the community.  The cost to initiate this process is less than $5,000 for preliminary engineering and an independent appraisal.  Subsequent grants would be required to build the facilities on the site.  Trails have very low maintenance costs, but add value to adjoining land.  City Council: retain this project, but no spending this year.   

On Going Goals (no end date)

Current Status/Notes

On-Going 1: Development of Vacant Property West of US-23
A new cell tower is going to be constructed in 2012 near Cedar Street.  This will be the first major new construction, other than City projects, since the new Funeral Home. With new utility service, provided through the USDA project, this property is ready for development.

On Going 2:  Planning for Capital Improvements to City Infrastructure, including streets, bridges, utilities, and public lands

The staff has on file previous plans for capital improvements.  The following plans require development or periodic updates to be current and viable: Community Recreation Plan, Master Plan, Transportation Asset Management (TAM) Plan, water and sewer infrastructure, bridge repair, and use of public lands.  The Recreation Plan is current until 2014. The Master Plan is proposed as a new project (see Project 11, above). The TAM Plan is also proposed as a new project (project 9).  It calls for investment in appropriate repairs (as opposed to rebuilding streets) as the most effective use of road maintenance dollars.  This means existing funding is better spent with targeted repairs than road rebuilding.  At current funding levels, streets will continue to deteriorate. USDA Water and Sewer projects are almost complete; however, planning for continued capital improvements should continue.  The City has over 35 miles of water and sewer mains/lines.  Only a regular yearly investment will prevent the City from facing extraordinary rate increases at some point in the future.  The City should plan for a regular program of yearly spending to replace deteriorated infrastructure. Also, the City should invest in a camera system to effectively evaluate sewer lines for repair. Also, some utility meters continue to require replacement each year due to normal failure.  The Trout River Bridge.  Staff will continue to seek grant funding for this bridge.  City Council members have indicated a desire to sell city owned land to place it on the tax rolls; however, this effort will require funding to proceed.  Due diligence for the sale of City owned land requires about $200 per parcel to properly assess the status of the title and restrictions on use. Also, an appraisal may be needed to see if a vote of the public is required. City Council: continue planning.
On Going Goals (no end date)

Current Status/Notes

On-Going 3:  Safe Routes 2 School
The SR2S program is an on-going community activity, independent of SR2S grant awards.  The local SR2S team (of over 20 participants) is working to improve student health by four “E”s: Engineering, Enforcement, Encouragement, and Education.  Sara McIntire has been hired with grant funding to be the new SR2S Coordinator.  City Council: continue achieving SR2S goals.

On-Going 4: Technology
Moving the City forward with smart and affordable modern technology is essential.  In 2009 Charter Communications invested $1 million in new cable system in the Rogers City area.  Additionally, Merit Network obtained a federal grant and is working on action plans. Local plans include use of available broadband with linking to local governmental agencies, sharing technology, improving internet presence, and use of social media. In 2011, the City and Chamber of Commerce completed an update of rogerscity.com to a user friendly software system.  Staff has secured a proposal for new hardware and software purchases (see new project 12).  City Council: Bring forward proposal to purchase with training.

On-Going 5: Governmental Cooperation and Consolidation
Rogers City has a long history of practical moves to increase cooperation and consolidate government operations.  Examples of this activity are documented in the Consolidation, Collaboration, and Cooperation Plan that City Council approved in 2011. This plan proposed an initiative to increase governmental cooperation regarding training for planning and zoning.  The proposal requires other governmental agencies to voluntarily agree to work together. City Council: continue planning.

On-Going 6:  Parks Assessment  and Improvement

The State of Michigan approved the 2009 Community Recreation Plan which contains dozens of projects (large and small) to improve the “City of Parks and Trails.”  DPW continues to maintain parks and trails and also make minor improvements according to the approved plan and available budgeted funding.  Many park improvement projects are included in the 2009 plan, such as a covered pavilions and playground
On Going Goals (no end date)

Current Status/Notes

On Going 6 (Continued):
(Continued) improvements. Various trail expansion plans are also included in the Community Recreation Plan, including a snowmobile trail bridge over the Trout River in the Herman Vogler Conservation Area.  These projects are an on-going effort to make Rogers City a more attractive destination for tourists and a great place to live.  A major specific project proposal to improve the Huron Sunrise Trail is included above (see new project 14).  Smaller incremental efforts, like the link between 6th Street and Wenonah, may be complete with budgeted funds as resources allow. City Council: continue on-going park and trail improvements as funding and human resources allow.

On Going 7: Clean Up Rogers City Day/Month
Annual spring cleanup day is in place. The residential waste contract is working well via PAC. Evergreen Recycling is doing recycling at Transfer Station, but we need glass recycling.  Hazardous Waste removal capability is needed for the region.

On Going 8: Training for Boards and Commissions
Obtaining quality training for Boards and Commissions has been a long standing goal.  There are various opportunities for training.  It requires constant effort to schedule and complete training as not all members are available at the same time.  See on-going goal 5.

On Going 9: Downtown Revitalization
Fa├žade and VSCI grants are completed. Several buildings are renovated and waiting for activity. The Street Lights Phase 2 project is almost done. The CDA has terminated its efforts to be a “Main Street” community due to lack of resources. However, on-going efforts to revitalize the downtown need to continue.  In 2010, the an Economic Study for the downtown demonstrated that viable economic opportunities exist—for those who are willing and able to take advantage of them. Future Downtown visioning and planning is needed.  City Council: continue planning.

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