posted on October 19, 2010 17:33
Editor's Note: Its a pretty well kept secret here that we at the Michigan Main Street Center @ MSHDA do a three-four month editorial schedule for our blog. We don't tell our bloggers what to write, we just try to organize who is writing when. A couple of months ago we wrote up our schedule and passed it around to our staff and partners asking folks to sign up to do a week. We reference the schedule about once a week, looking to give a week's heads up to whomever is supposed to write the next blog. We were a little surprised looking at the schedule last week to discover our now former Organization Specialist Jamie Schriner-Hooper was on the list for this week. Well, we weren't about to let a little thing like not working for us stand in the way of having Jamie write a blog. Only now, it's a GUEST blog. Thanks Jamie!
By Jamie Schriner-Hooper
Community Economic Developers of Michigan (CEDAM)
So, despite no longer being a staff member of the Michigan Main Street Center @ MSHDA, I find myself spending my morning writing a Main Street blog… As many of you know, I accepted the position of Executive Director of the Community Economic Development Association of Michigan (CEDAM) in early August. CEDAM is a state-wide trade association dedicated to helping organizations doing community-based economic development across the state through advocacy, resources and training. Our members include organizations doing affordable and supportive housing, community action agencies, Main Street programs and more.
While my first few months with CEDAM have been a whirlwind of acronyms (MSHDA has nothing on CEDAM in this arena,) meetings and conferences, what I’ve heard over and over again is a resounding commitment to Michigan and the ability for our great state to come back. While discussions are going on regarding “rightsizing” for our major urban areas like Flint and Detroit, I’m hearing even more discussions about appropriate adaptive reuse of vacant properties and land. Ideas like community centers in abandoned homes are appearing; grocery stores and farmers markets stocked with food grown in community gardens are popping up in vacant buildings and abandoned lots. Businesses, schools, residents and stakeholders are banding together to revitalize and create a new history for Michigan.
Main Street is all about working together as a community, forging new partnerships and collaborations, listening to your neighbors and creating a better future for the community. There’s no room for an entitlement attitude. If you want to see something done, you’d better figure out a creative and inexpensive way to get it done, as nobody is going to do it for you. I’m pleased to see that this is going on across the state and not just through Main Street. Organizations like Northern Initiatives in Marquette are working with entrepreneurs to help with start-up loans to get businesses up and running – and with great success! Neighborhood Services Organization in Detroit has plans to rehab the Bell Building and consolidate their services. The Bell Building is a prominent historic building in Detroit that has sat vacant for years and will now become a flurry of activity serving the neighborhood. These organizations can make great partners with local Main Street programs and their revitalization efforts, coming up with creative solutions to problems and sharing the distribution of efforts.
While it is often easy to be overwhelmed with our own priorities and goals, I encourage you to reach out and look at the work of your neighbors. You never know, a simple call or meeting may result in sharing of duties and a great new project.