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Leaders Brief Levin on Regional Visioning

U.S. Senator pivotal in delivering $3.3 million for two-year program

January 29, 2007 |

Julie Hay/MLUI
  Institute planner Jim Lively listens to U.S. Senator Carl Levin during his visit to our new office.

TRAVERSE CITY—On Saturday, Grand Traverse-area leaders who are preparing a six-county visioning and planning project that will map out the region’s future development met with the man who found the money for it: U.S. Senator Carl Levin.

The meeting, held at the Michigan Land Use Institute’s new downtown Traverse City office, briefed Senator Levin on the Grand Traverse Area Land Use and Transportation Study, the first of its kind in Michigan. At the gathering, hosted by the Institute’s Jim Lively, the senator heard from civic, business, and government leaders who have been quietly moving the program forward for the past 20 months. Acting as the study’s steering committee, the group conducted a national search for the firms who will facilitate the broad-based visioning process, and is now negotiating final contracts. The visioning, which could begin in March, will take two years, involve hundreds if not thousands of “citizen stakeholders,” and probably cost $1.36 million.

Senator Levin helped establish the visioning process in 2004 by redirecting more than $3 million in federal funds—originally earmarked for a hotly disputed highway bypass and bridge over the Boardman River, south of Traverse City—to finance the study and the followup work necessary to implement its recommendations.  

The leaders thanked Mr. Levin for his assistance, while the senator expressed interest in the novel consensus process the committee uses to reach decisions.

Among those meeting with Senator Levin were Grand Traverse County Administrator Dennis Aloia, Traverse City Area Chamber of Commerce President Doug Luciani, Grand Traverse County Commissioner Wayne Schmidt, Leelanau County Commissioner Mary Tonneberger, Grand Traverse Baykeeper John Nelson, and Northwest Michigan Council of Governments Regional Planning Director Megan Olds.

Read our ongoing coverage of the Traverse region’s upcoming visioning process here.
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