Wednesday, July 15, 2009

You Saw It Here First!: Charting a Course for Harrisville

What are the greater aspects of Harrisville? What are some of Harrisville’s issues? And more importantly, what does Harrisville look like 20 years into the future?

These were the three questions that the July 13th Community Input Session revolved around. Starting at 7pm, the Harrisville Harbor’s meeting room opened its doors to any citizen of Harrisville who wanted to make their opinion known. The meeting was run by Rick Duall, senior planner and Denise Cline, community planner at NEMCOG (Northeast Michigan Council of Governments). There was an exceptional turnout which resulted in the small meeting room to be filled with the many strong voices of the people.

NEMCOG offers a variety of services that help Northeast Michigan grow and sustain itself, including; community planning, grant writing assistance, economic development, data distribution, transportation, and regional planning. At the “Charting a Course for Harrisville” meeting they offered their community planning services to the people to help them focus on future ideas for the county.

The meeting was broken up into three exercises. The first was for every attendee to say what they liked the most about Harrisville. Why did they move here? What would they like to protect? The second exercise was for every attendee to now say what they thought were some of the issues of Harrisville. What would they like to change? What were some negative aspects of their county? Each idea was written on poster paper and posted around the room. During the break, attendees were given three green stickers and three red stickers and were invited to narrow down their opinion of what was the best and what was the worst of Harrisville. After this, attendees were allowed to dream aloud about what their precious county looked like 20 years into the future.

Results showed that some of the more important issues were the condition of sidewalks, lack of youth activities, bad water lines, and overgrowth of weeds around the harbor. More popular assets were the great reputation of the harbor, the city’s small town character, opportunities for walking and biking, events, and the amount of dedicated volunteers.

These opinions will be taken to the NEMCOG office where they will make an appendix of the people’s opinions and compare this information with background studies and graph goals and objectives. In September 2009, they will go to the City Planning Commission where they will refine these ideas and set a guideline for the development and growth of Harrisville.


I wrote this Tuesday, the day after the meeting and Cheryl loved it. I think she thinks it's my best article, but she's so impressed, especially because of my lack of knowledge going into this situation. She used the phrase "Wow." Just like that. With the period at the end. She hurried up and put it on the front page of the newspaper!

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