By Seth Kinker, firstname.lastname@example.org
Last week the Manchester Downtown Development Authority (DDA) hosted a placemaking session in the Village Room at the Village offices.
May 16 the DDA welcomed Gil White, a placemaking consultant for the Michigan Realtors, who has helped Manchester receive the Lighter, Quicker, Cheaper grant to help fund community activities. White also worked to obtain the first LQC grant in 2016,
The concept of the Lighter, Quicker, Cheaper approach is simple. It has to do with making a community a placemaker or destination.
The goal of the placemaking projects is to create community gathering places, attract residents and visitors, bring life to downtowns, support walkable communities, and preserve open and green spaces.
White discussed tactics with local residents, business owners, and members of various councils and commissions in Manchester that focused more on low cost experiments and trying smaller projects first before seeing what takes hold and grows.
Manchester has been working to make their downtown a vibrant travel destination once again, from reconstructing the main intersection and Duncan street bridge downtown years ago, to now working on promoting Manchester Third Thursday Events as well as other opportunities to benefit local businesses and promote the economic growth of Manchester.
Village President Pat Vaillencourt mentioned how tough it could be, competing with surrounding areas like Chelsea and Saline but also talked about the resiliency of the village and how invested local business owners are in trying to revive downtown.
After presenting ideas that had taken place in various communities, some smaller than Manchester, some bigger, White stressed enhancing what the community already has rather than changing a ton of things all at once.
Ray Berg, member of the DDA, also spoke about the success of placemaking projects that Manchester had previously implemented including signs detailing the history of Manchester, as well as what was to come, which were signs promoting and pointing to the shared use trails in town.
One way to see what Manchester has to offer is to attend The Third Thursday Events, running now through October. A complete program of various entertainment and different activities planned for this summer that can be found on their Facebook page “Make it Manchester”.