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June 16, 2003 |

Institute News

Heidi Johnson

Great news for Smart Growth: The Institute now has a full-time staff person in Lansing. Charlene Crowell brings a rich background to her new gig: scholar, journalist, TV newscaster, business manager, media relations manager, and press secretary for several elected officials. She doubtless needed every bit of that experience and pluck to survive her Lansing debut. In just her first few days there Charlene scouted up an office, attended legislative hearings, met with top state officials and the Institute’s policy partners, testified at the Michigan Land Use Leadership Council, took a ‘break’ to drive up to our Beulah office for planning sessions, and then headed right back to Lansing’s whirlwind. Phew! Welcome! And hold onto your hat, girl! Reach Charlene at charlene@mlui.org.

Smart New Strategies
With a new and liberal governor, a new and more conservative state Legislature, and a staff of 14 working in four different offices, it was clearly time for the Institute to do what any dynamic organization should periodically do — perform one of those “agonizing reappraisals” that re-plots the Institute’s “mission, goals, and objectives.” As dry as that might sound, the staff, board, and an excellent facilitator jammed hard and assembled a new, five-year plan that reaffirms our commitment to locally based activism and top-flight journalism as keys to making Michigan a Smart Growth leader.

A Fond Adieux

MLUI/Gail Dennis

Arlin Wasserman helped to build the Institute from a tiny northwestern Michigan advocacy group into a formidable, nationally respected Smart Growth organization. Now he’s moving on, devoting his energy to studying community-based food systems as a Kellogg Foundation fellow. This closes an extraordinary eight-year span in Arlin’s career and in the life of this organization, which he helped to found. As Executive Director Hans Voss said, “Arlin’s next step is a great one for him, and a big loss for us. He has been so important to the Institute’s success and the remarkable progress we’ve made.” We will miss him greatly. Happy trails, Arlin! We wish you the very best.

They Like Us
Impressed by the results of their direct support of our work on Antrim County sprawl and statewide transportation, the Offield Family Foundation, which is based in Chicago but has deep roots in northwestern Michigan, awarded the Institute a $75,000 grant for general operating support in May. And The Regional Ride, our recent publication on public transportation in Michigan, turned heads at Michigan’s State Historic Preservation Office. So SHPO contracted with the Institute to research, write, and publish an in-depth report on the good effects historic preservation has on downtown economic revitalization.

Grand Rapids Reality Check

MLUI/Gail Dennis
Downtown Grand Rapids
Board member and urban redeveloper Sam Cummings recently convened a meeting in his hometown Grand Rapids to help the Institute better understand the barriers and opportunities that urban redevelopment presents. Six influential developers met with the Institute’s Hans Voss, Mac McClelland, and Andy Guy to share lessons that their longtime, real-world experiences in pursuit of profitable inner-city building have taught them. Next step: Using that wisdom to foster more downtown development statewide.

Michigan Land Use Institute

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Traverse City, MI 49684-5725
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