Evart officials, community members participate in assessment town hall
EVART — Government officials, business leaders and community members have a vision for the future growth and success of Evart.
More than a dozen people attended a community assessment town hall meeting from the Michigan Rural Council on Jan. 24 at city hall’s community room to formulate ideas on how its current assets can be utilized to make that vision a reality.
Facilitated by Community Economic Development Association of Michigan Vacant Property Campaign Coordinator Julie Hales-Smith, AmeriCorps VISTA Leader for the Rural Opportunities Program Stevie Chilcote and Executive Director Jamie Schriner-Hooper, the town hall was the final step in a day of discussion by city stakeholders.
To open the town hall, Hales-Smith encouraged those in attendance to think about what they would like to see happen in Evart in the future, whether it included specifics about businesses or recreation, or if it is something they wanted to have in their community.
“Looking ahead, you will need to think of all the assets here in your city,” she said. “Remember, moving ahead, while building on those assets, they will help move us toward that vision.”
Some of those suggestions included having more collaboration among all the city’s different organizations and groups so they can better serve the people, a new city hall/community center, longer library hours, a skilled, energetic workforce, crowded sidewalks and providing residents’ needs locally.
“Getting those suggestions, we will have you look at the different resources in what you’re doing along with the Project Rising Tide, as well as what you have here, and figure out what will be necessary to achieve those goals.”
“I would like to see the city become a known destination,” said Mark Wilson, the city’s public works supervisor. “I would like people to see there is something going on here.”
After audience members shared their visions, they were separated into two groups and CEDAM facilitators helped spark further conversations as the groups determined which assets could be used to complete short- or mid-term projects.
Once they were finished with formulating project ideas, the groups presented how those would help the city in the future. CEDAM facilitators strongly encouraged those attending to volunteer to help get projects they were interested in to get them off the ground.
CEDAM facilitators will take information from the day’s meetings with stakeholders and provide a report to the city with recommendations on how to proceed on projects and resources available to complete them.