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Grand Vision Kickoff Draws Record Crowd

‘Stakeholders’ make their first marks on big maps, region’s future

January 2, 2008 | By Julie Hay
Great Lakes Bulletin News Service

TRAVERSE CITY—The Grand Vision project—the Grand Traverse region’s opportunity to produce a regional land use and transportation plan to accommodate the quarter of a million people who will be moving to this part of this state in the next 50 years—debuted last October in spectacular fashion.

More than 450 people showed up at the Park Place Hotel on Oct. 17 to sip coffee, munch on pizza, jaw with their neighbors from around the six-county region, and mark up maps with their first thoughts on how and where the region should grow and what to do to make sure people can get around the entire area both quickly and economically.

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It was the first step in a wide-open, highly democratic project that, proponents say, is designed to make sure that, once the community selects its final "vision" for the future, local officials will make that vision a reality and not, in the words of project principal and renowned planner John Fregonese, "just a hallucination."

Many people said they enjoyed the kickoff workshop, learned from it, hoped the few opening night problems could be solved, and were looking forward to the next workshops.

Last week, The Grand Vision announced its next four workshops, scheduled for Jan. 23 and 24 and Feb. 27. Officials reminded interested citizens that, even if they attended the October kickoff, they still must register for each workshop they plan on attending. They added that all workshops are from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m., are open to everyone, are free of charge, and will provide refreshments and food.

The Grand Vision team also released its first newsletter about the project. The four-page publication offers a closer look at how the project is working, how it will unfold over the next 21 months, and encourages people to participate in a variety of ways beyond workshop attendance.

Julie Hay is the Michigan Land Use Institute’s policy specialist for Leelanau County.

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