Revitalizing Charlotte through #CharlotteRising
Charlotte was recently selected as one of ten Michigan communities to be part of Governor Snyder’s Rising Tide initiative. Rising Tide’s mission is to supply the chosen “prosperity regions” with the tools needed to design and build a ‘vibrant, thriving’ community that attracts businesses and talent by “creating a sustainable path toward economic stability and growth.” In support of Rising Tide, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), Talent and Economic Development (TED), and Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) have all committed assets to the selected communities, including Charlotte.
A committee of local volunteers has assembled to coordinate resources, and they named the initiative #CharlotteRising. You’ll see and hear #CharlotteRising referenced frequently around town and connected to several ongoing initiatives to revitalize the area, especially the downtown area. You can find some of the projects on our "Connecting the Dots" web page. The effort is being supported by a dedicated intern, Dillon Rush, who is located in a donated office across from City Hall at 114 Lawrence Ave.
Rising Tide’s Action Plan, carefully tailored to Charlotte, will initially guide #CharlotteRising. One of the first actions is to submit an application to the Michigan Main Street Program – part of the 35-year-old National Main Street Center.
According to the National Main Street Center: “Main Street-style transformation is a combination of art and science: communities first need to learn about the local economy, its primary drivers, and its regional context (the science), but they also need to convey that very special sense of place through storytelling, preserving the older and historic structures that set it apart, broad and inclusive civic engagement, and marketing (the art).”
The National Main Street Center has a revitalization framework called the Main Street Approach, which is found to be most effective in places where community residents have a strong emotional, social and civic connection, and are motivated to get involved and make a difference.
The Charlotte community has a dedicated citizenry motivated to help the area “be all it can be” and many of these residents are part of the #CharlotteRising efforts. The Main Street program has four points: Economic Vitality, Promotion, Design and Organization. The #CharlotteRising committee has formed subcommittees to correspond with these four points.
Currently, Charlotte is at the “Associate Level” or introductory level of the Michigan Main Street Program, which means those involved are receiving training and mentorship that focuses on providing a basic understanding and knowledge of the Program.
These are exciting opportunities for Charlotte and, over time, will lead to the revitalization of our vibrant community. It will take many collective hands, hearts and minds to help these efforts be successful. If you are interested in getting involved and would like to be part of #CharlotteRising we encourage you to attend one of the general meetings, which are held the first Thursday of every month at 4 p.m. in the Charlotte Public Schools Administration Building conference room.
-Written by #CharlotteRising