Michigan City’s Future is Michigan City Now

From+left+to+right%3A+Mayor+Ron+Meer%2C+Craig+Phillips%2C++Richard+Murphy%2C+Kyle+Hurt%2C++Tommy+Callaghan%2C+Sarah+Smith%2C+Megan+Mullins%2C+Amira+Novitzke%2C+Melissa+Wood

From left to right: Mayor Ron Meer, Craig Phillips, Richard Murphy, Kyle Hurt, Tommy Callaghan, Sarah Smith, Megan Mullins, Amira Novitzke, Melissa Wood

Michigan City Now is a group of people who care about making the Michigan City community a great place.  Michigan City Now is a coalition comprised of city officials, business people, community groups, and city commissions. The goal of this group is to get the Lake Michigan Gateway Implement Strategy approved by the city council.

The Michigan City Now planners had a presentation on October 8th, 2014 to explain the strategy and create awareness about their plans.
Through this strategy Michigan City Now would like to utilize Michigan City’s greatest strength, which they believe to be Lake Michigan. The strategy includes five steps. The first step is to refine and consistently communicate the brand of Michigan City. Second develop more year-round attractions for people to visit.
Third simplify the connections of getting from place to place. Fourth create and maintain a memorable appearance, and the fifth and final step is to act quickly and sustainably to gain and maintain momentum. In order to accomplish these steps the Michigan City Now group would like to start at the very beginning with refining the brand.

This would include sending out new messages to the public and slogans to be used in advertisements. Also in the advertisements they would like to use different types of fonts and wording when advertising for Michigan City.
The second step is to develop more year round attractions. The group would like to create a year-round entertainment district, show off Washington Park, and possibly create an adventure park on Bismarck hill.
This would include a zip line, Alpine slide, and camping areas. City planner Craig Phillips, said “We can create a place we are proud of.” Craig Phillips then expresses Michigan City Now’s intentions for the future of Michigan City. He said, “When you get to this destination you know you have come to a special place. You know you are in Michigan City.”

The third step of the plan is to simplify connections. In order to do this they would like to create better streets, bridges, multipurpose trails, and river walks. Another thing they would like to do to simplify connections is to change a few one way streets to two way streets.

The fourth step in the plan will be to create a memorable appearance. They will do this by architecture, landscaping, public spaces, and identifiers. They would also like to put in larger than life art that reflects Michigan City.
The fifth and final step would be to act quickly and sustainably to gain and maintain momentum. Phillips said, “We are enjoying a perfect storm with the momentum we have created.”

Even though the Michigan City Now group would like to work as fast as possible the plan will stretch over a total of three to five years.
The process first has to be approved by the City Council and if that happens then the first step will be put into action.
Lake Michigan might be the best asset of Michigan City. But the idea does not just stop there. They would also like to help update the Lighthouse Premium Outlets facilities and Blue Chip Casino. This could possibly help bring more tourists to Michigan City.

A lot of people may be asking how Michigan City will pay for this plan. Well the answer is quite simple.
The North end of town, where all of these improvements will be made, is in a Tiff district. This district receives a certain amount of money each year.
This money they receive can only be used in the assigned district, which is the north eend of town. The Michigan City Now group is also looking for private investors to help implement the plan.

Michigan City’s Associate Superintendent Mr. Xavier Botana
summed up the Michigan City Now presentation he said, “I liked the comments about the importance of getting young people involved. The strategy is called Michigan City Now. But it is about the future and wanting people to come back and raise their families here. It is about making the appearance better, and making this an action and not just a plan.”

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