The Onekama Community Master Plan is one of many planning efforts that has taken place over the past few years in Manistee County. This joint effort between Onekama Township and the Village of Onekama was designed to foster economic development. The natural assets of Manistee County figure prominently in the plans. I’ve been impressed by the commitment that Manistee County and its townships, villages and cities have made over the past five years to create a new and prosperous future. These communities concluded that they can be more successful by working together and blurring boundaries. They are clearly committed to collaborate and cooperate to meet common objectives.
The Onekama planning effort has paid off in several ways – including the obvious benefit of a joint planning effort to reduce redundancy and inefficiencies across jurisdiction lines. And the effort will be recognized with an award – the annual Daniel Burnham Award for a Comprehensive Plan at the annual conference of the Michigan Association of Planning next week in Detroit. MSUE is not being recognized for the award, and it shouldn’t be. The plan was developed by residents and staff members in the township and village. It is worth noting, however, that much of the knowledge that the planning committee used to carry out this endeavor came from years of education programming on planning, economic development and local government from MSUE professionals. Whether it was helping to facilitate the start of the county-wide planning organization, the Alliance for Economic Success, or offering of Citizen Planner training or county commissioner training and consultation, MSUE staff members have contributed greatly to the planning committee’s ability to create an award-winning plan.
It’s always great to be recognized for the work we do. But it’s even more rewarding to see the people we serve receive recognition for the way they’ve implemented programs that originated with our training and research. Congratulations to the Onekama planning team, and congratulations to educators Elaine Bush, Kurt Schnindler, John Amrhein, and specialists Wayne Beyea and Dave Ivan and associate professor Warren Rauhe for their work in Manistee County that has helped to contribute to this tremendous local achievement.