Press release from Manistee Alliance for Economic Success:
JOYFIELD TOWNSHIP, MICHIGAN – A $35,000 grant from Rotary Charities of Traverse City to Joyfield Township in Benzie County will be used to wrap up Phase 1 of the Lakes to Land Regional Initiative, the completion of updated master plans and a collaborative implementation strategy that spans 18 governmental jurisdictions in Benzie and Manistee Counties. It was the largest grant awarded by Rotary Charities in their recent grant cycle. Other grant supporters have included the Michigan Department of Treasury Competitive Grant Assistance Program (CGAP) and the CS Mott Foundation.
“Great news!” said Betsy Evans, chair of the Joyfield Township Planning Commission. “We could not be more grateful for this grant from Rotary Charities so that the initial master plan phase of the Lakes to Land Regional Initiative can be wrapped up in Benzie County so that we can focus on partnering with our neighbors to achieve plan goals. It’s an honor that Rotary Charities recognizes the importance of our bottom up, organic process to engage everyone in developing a blueprint for prosperity.”
Evans said that the participating communities have already identified priorities for collaboration during implementation, including: water resource use and management; agriculture; blight; zoning; economic development and others.
“The Lakes to Land Regional Initiative has set a high bar for community-driven, volunteer-led engagement that has unified interests around strategies to better their communities,” said Marsha Smith, Executive Director of Rotary Charities of Traverse City. “Everyone who has had a role in this grass roots regional success story should be immensely proud that they have nearly completed the collaborative blueprint for the future through a partnership effort that is unique in Michigan. We look forward to being a partner along with other groups and organizations to collectively support attainment of the implementation priorities in the Lakes to Land Region, all of which reflect the principles of the Grand Vision.”
The firm Beckett & Raeder was unanimously selected by a Lakes to Land leadership team consisting of community representatives to guide the effort. The Alliance for Economic Success has provided fund development and coordination assistance since the Initiative began in 2012. The Lakes to Land Regional Initiative is the largest regional effort of its kind in Michigan.