A coastal town with a strong tourism sector, declining manufacturing base and a regional retail hub, Michigan City enjoys significant community resources but contains an aging housing stock and aging infrastructure. Receiving federal funding under the Neighborhood Stabilization Program, community leaders recognized a need for a coordinated and analytical approach to funding improvements on the west side of town.

The Westside Neighborhood Plan included a significant multi-faceted approach to reaching out to neighborhood residents and stakeholders.

Key Methods:

  • Youth engagement, including an art contest at public schools for inclusion on the workshop banner.
  • Social media sites for announcements and input.
  • Online Visual Preference Survey for urban design and architectural recommendations.
  • Stakeholder focus groups at local neighborhood center.
  • Community-wide forum that included the “Heart of Your Community” mapping activity, a capital improvements budgeting interactive exercise and the “Fix, Keep, Aspire” graphic exercise.
  • Development of press releases and advertisements for outreach to local media, resulting in radio interviews and numerous newspaper articles.

The multi-faceted approach resulted in a consensus on recommendations for improved street lighting, neighborhood wayfinding, parking improvements and public transportation modifications.

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