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Micro-Grants Available for Community-based Placemaking

Placemaking is a community-based approach involving the discovery and implementation of practices that make our communities distinctive, economically viable, accessible, and visually pleasing. Placemaking capitalizes on a local community's assets, inspiration and potential, creating good public spaces that promote people's health, happiness, and economic well-being. In support of assisting communities with their placemaking goals, the Placemaking Micro-Grants Program is intended to provide resources to communities looking to realize their placemaking efforts.
Placemaking Micro-Grant applicants are encouraged to review the Northwest Michigan Council of Governments (NWMCOG) Placemaking website ( for additional information on the principals of placemaking. This website is designed to empower local citizens and unique collaborative groups in communities across northwest lower Michigan to foster community pride through better public spaces. It also provides the Northern Michigan Community Placemaking Guidebook that offers critical approaches to creating and managing successful public spaces. The level of a community’s local pride plays a significant role in the quality and maintenance of local places, an overall sense of place and identity, and ultimately economic prosperity.
Grants of up to $5,000 in cash and/or technical assistance will be made available on a competitive basis to city, village, and township governments from Antrim, Benzie, Charlevoix, Emmet, Grand Traverse, Kalkaska, Leelanau, Manistee, and Missaukee, and Wexford Counties.


The Placemaking Micro-Grant Program is intended to improve all of the spaces that comprise the gathering places within a community – its streets, sidewalks, parks, buildings, and other public spaces – so they invite greater interaction between people and foster healthier, more social, and economically viable communities. Examples of small starts Placemaking efforts include, but not limited to; park benches and picnic tables, flower plantings, public gardens, wayfinding signage, recreational equipment, public art and murals, and gathering places such as gazebos and other shade structures. Strong linkages to economic development and innovative ideas are encouraged.

Project Application and Selection

All city, township, and village governments in Antrim, Benzie, Charlevoix, Emmet, Grand Traverse, Kalkaska, Leelanau, Manistee, and Missaukee, and Wexford Counties are eligible to apply. The application can be for cash and/or technical assistance.
On behalf of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s Northwest Lower Michigan Collaborative Development Council (CDC), the NWMCOG is accepting applications in the form of clear and concise proposals of no more than 2 pages. Proposals must contain all of the following:
  • Purpose Statement. Summarize the purpose of the project.
  • Background and Need. What has led you to apply for this grant? What is the need for this activity?
  • Project Goals and Activities. In a brief statement, please identify the project goals. What do you hope to achieve? What activities will be completed to meet the community’s needs?
  • Participant Information. Describe your community’s capacity and leadership to complete the project including any groups that will provide assistance.
  • Project Area. Please provide a brief description and/or map.
  • Project Commitment. The proposal must include a commitment to provide either cash or in-kind match within one month of project start-up.
  • Innovation. Does your program/project incorporate a new approach, technique or methodology?
  • Community impact. What will be different in the community if your project is successful? How will the outcomes of the project impact economic development?
The application review committee will evaluate all applications received. The success of an application will be determined by its completeness and clarity of purpose, the likelihood of project success, and the level of commitment offered by participants. Successful applicants will be notified by no later than August 23, 2013.

To apply:

Grant applications must be received no later than 4 p.m. on August 2, 2013. Please submit applications as Adobe Acrobat .pdf documents (preferred method), to or mail to:
Northwest Michigan Council of Governments Attn: Matt McCauley, Director of Regional Planning
600 E. Front St., Suite 104
PO Box 506
Traverse City, MI 49685
Related Info:  Placemaking in Northern Michigan
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Networks Northwest always proves to be a valued resource for our local government planning efforts. No organization does a better job of convening partners, promoting collaboration, and reporting on the data than does Networks Northwest

Ty Wessell, Leelanau County Commissioner