Input Expos--Share Your Ideas. Get Creative. Strategize.


If you've ever had a new idea on how to improve your community, you now have an outlet for expressing it - the Framework for Our Future Input Expos. These events will be an opportunity for you and your neighbors to share ideas, concerns, and suggestions about important issues where you live, work and play.

Who's listening? Local governments - township, city, village, county, and regional - as well as community organizations, non-profits, businesses, and citizens.

The purpose of the Input Expos is two-fold: to Listen and to Inform. In an expo-like atmosphere, volunteers will work at Topic Tables to help you turn your ideas into strategies that communities can act on. And they will provide examples of projects that are occurring throughout the region, showing that innovative strategies developed at the grassroots level are very effective in moving a community forward.

The primary focus of the Input Expos falls into four of the six issue areas identified by The Grand Vision: Housing, Transportation, Commercial Corridors (Growth & Investment), and Energy. Future events will focus on the remaining two issue areas: Food & Farming and Natural Resources, as well as community health. The events are all part of a large-scale project called Framework for Our Future, which will develop a regional resource - or a toolkit of sorts - of strategies to support The Grand Vision. The goal of the project is to provide communities with the specific tools and action steps they need to move The Grand Vision forward.

Sarah Lucas, Regional Planner at Northwest Michigan Council of Governments, is coordinating the events. She says that the events will move beyond just identifying issues, and will focus more on how to develop solutions for the region's concerns and goals. "If you feel passionate about a topic, like transit or affordable housing, let's talk about strategies and action steps for your community," said Lucas.

What will it be like? The "booths" that you would typically find at an expo will be replaced by Topic Tables, covering topics including:

  • Multi-modal Transportation

  • Public Transit

  • Streets, Roads, & Highways

  • Rental & Ownership Housing

  • Fair & Diverse Housing

  • Placemaking

  • Commercial Corridors

  • Two tables focused on Energy

There will be a variety of activities designed to collect input in the form of strategies. You can complete surveys in hard copy or online, fill out comment cards, and pitch your ideas on video. You'll be able to sit with neighbors at discussion tables where a facilitator will take notes, moderate, and provide information as necessary. Presentations will also be given throughout the events, explaining in plain language the basics of the project and key facts about the topics. A visual preference survey will give you a chance to choose from several examples of development options for potential future development in the region's growth and investment areas.

Licensed childcare will be provided. Door prizes will be raffled off throughout the night, with a Grand Prize of an iPad mini at each of the six events. Activities for children and teenagers will also be available.

Registration is not required, but an RSVP is encouraged. Click here to tell us which event you'll be attending.

Framework for Out Future: County Input Expos

Stop in any time between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Monday, April 22          Benzie                       Mills Community House

Tuesday, April 23         Kalkaska                   Kaliseum

Wednesday, April 24   Wexford                    Cadillac Junior High

Thursday, April 25        Antrim                      Bellaire Senior Center

Monday, April 29           Leelanau                  Horticulture Research Center

Tuesday, April 30          Grand Traverse     Hagerty Center







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