Home > Announcement, Cultural Movement, Self-promotion > MyWHaT looks to add a more regional focus…with help

MyWHaT looks to add a more regional focus…with help

Even though MyWHaT is near the end of the second week of publishing since coming of a month-long break, I’m still in a bit of reflection mode. One question that has hung around is scope of content, in particular a question of the range MyWHaT should cover organizationally and regionally. The year-end survey offers some perspective from the readers vantage point.

Another Organization?

It’s refreshing that 25% of readers see no need for major changes, and the 34% of respondents expressing that they’d like to see MyWHaT expand its organizational capacities, perhaps forming a new organization, is surprising. Northwest Lower Michigan already has a considerable amount of brain-trust working within the non-profit world. It is not clear that another non-profit operating on a shoe-string budget would add anything to the discussion. My suspicion is that it might actually limit the discussion. At this time, that isn’t something being considered, but I’m interested to learn more why some of you thought it was a good direction.

Do you see a need for another non-profit in NW Lower Michigan advocating for public space?

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More Regional Focus?

Another 13% from the survey desired an expansion of content on MyWHaT “to include a broader, regional focus.” At this time, this seems more attainable, albeit more labor intensive for an editorial board of one.

Originally, MyWHaT was created with an intent to focus on Traverse City because 1) information is more readily available 2) the political culture is better understood and 3) a belief that what happens within the City has ripple effect in the greater region. More importantly, Traverse City is where this writer spends about 95% of his time; it’s what I know.

Glenn Wolff Map of SBHT

Still, it is understood that projects and issues do occur within a 5-county region that involve public space and impact us all. In actuality, a lot of positive things are happening outside of Traverse City. For instance, Suttons Bay is redesigning the MDOT highway that runs through its town to be more accommodating for people not in cars. Acme (GTRLC) and Elmwood Townships are using their shoreline development projects as incentives to likewise ameliorate the highways running through their communities. And, MyWHaT underwriter TART Trails is working its booty off raising the needed funds to complete the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail (TART).

Expanding the regional is something I can do; with help.

Two Kinds of Assistance Needed

There are of course less than appealing projects going on outside of the City. The point today isn’t to dissect them. The point of today’s post is to ask for your help. In order to provide commentary, whether it be supportive or critical, of issues outside of Traverse City your assistance is required. Two things that would help, chief among them is information.

If you are engaged in your local government or simply aware of the needs as an individual or through an organization, send me a message with as much information as you can provide (you can also always find that link in the side-bar). Or, better yet, consider writing a guest contribution to MyWHaT. Past performance shows that readership spikes with guest contributors, so there are readers for you–although, not sure what that says about regular daily posts…hmmm? 

Do you have some intel about projects outside of Traverse City?

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A second way to help besides providing intel is a financial subscription to the blog. If you in any way enjoy and find useful the commentary and curating that occurs on MyWHaT and would like to see it expand, your financial contribution will help. Donations, which can now be given as a monthly subscription, provide both a needed and appreciated stipend for the time put into the blog, but also provide equally needed and appreciated positive feedback that what is published on MyWHaT is on the right track. As always, thank you for your support!

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Contributions greatly appreciated; the beagles thank you.

If your organization or business would like to join as an underwriter, please send me a message. 

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  1. Marya
    February 2, 2012 at 8:31 pm

    Gary, how about running for public office yourself? You’ve got a fan base.

  2. February 3, 2012 at 9:14 am

    I was one who voted for the “establish an organization to advocate for public spaces…” It seems to me that Gary’s tapped into a critical mass of folks through this blog who are interested in promoting, among other things, walkable/bikable/transit-friendly transportation in the TC area. As well as promoting the kind of denser, mixed-use development that complements these modes of transport that aren’t primarily or fundamentally reliant only on cars. I don’t know if this is what Gary meant by “advocate for public spaces” but that’s what I took it to mean, or wanted it to mean.

    There is no organization in the TC area that has organized people to effectively work on and speak out of these issues. While I’m more than aware that there is TART that does great work on trails, the conservancies buy development rights, etc, but, to my knowledge, when various issues in this particular vein have come before the TC city commission (e.g. the ADU ordinance; Boardman Lake Avenue; the Hagerty project; downtown parking decks; complete streets; the current corridor study; the current CVS project; etc etc) there aren’t people who show up and write letters and emails and self-identify in large numbers with a certain group or organization that is known to promote these ideas. Some folks, like myself and others, might write emails but we write them as lone individuals. And a representative of TART or whomever might show up to a meeting to speak but usually they might be the only person there from that group. On the other hand, we’ve seen time and time again how effectively other groups whose members self-identify appear to get a lot of political traction in front of the City Commission. Namely, members of the neighborhood organizations have, to me, appeared to have been very effective in getting their message out and getting an audience with City government, whether you want to talk about on BLA or beach grooming.

    So I think there is certainly room for a new TC focused organization for these issues (easy for me to say/write, because I’m in Virginia for another year or two and wouldn’t be there to do heavy lifting). I believe that it would have to be specifically TC (as in the City and not the region) focused both because that appears to be where the majority of the interest in these issues is as well as there is no regional governing body, by and large, TC in terms of the issues I listed above. I’m more than aware that the County runs the road commission and has its own parks, but it doesn’t do zoning. And all of the issues that I’ve mentioned above and which have also sparked a lot of interest on this blog are entirely, or almost entirely, City issues.

  3. chrisbzdok
    February 3, 2012 at 9:35 am

    If Gary could get 10 people (or organizations) to commit to one guest post per month, he could reduce his own burden of constantly coming up with new material to every other weekday (i.e. by half); the collaboration would probably lead to new inspirations for him; and the whole effort could be sustainable longer term. I sense he is running on fumes now, despite the sabbatical – I can’t imagine how he could not be. (and yes, I see that “running on fumes” is an odd thing to say about a dedicated walker/biker like Gary.)

    I would commit to this if 9 other people/organizations would as well.

  4. February 3, 2012 at 11:43 am

    Thanks Chris. Guest contributors certainly help move discussions along and different people, including you, have at different times provided perspective and clarity on issues that I wouldn’t have been able to provide on my own.

    Certainly, anyone interested please drop me a line. As well, I’m reaching out to different people as ideas are developed. I’ve even reached out to a few City Commissioners, but haven’t quite nailed that area down.

  5. February 3, 2012 at 11:50 am

    To Marya and Mike, I’ll have to think about these ideas a bit more. Neither of which are decisions that can happen without considerable more planning, input and fortutious insights from potential partners.

  6. Ross Richardson
    February 4, 2012 at 7:58 pm

    I would certainly would be willing to add what perspective I could, especially from a county-wide viewpoint. And if I could address the comment above from Mike Grant, people should limit their scope to the City. While there are obviously important issues that must be reolved at the city level, I believe the real action will be taking place at the county level and regionally. The only local streets-road departments exist at the county, with planning going forward provided by NMCOG (Council of Governments). These agencies are ripe for input, and are grappling with the same complete streets type issues as Traverse City. Let’s not neglect them!

  7. Ross Richardson
    February 4, 2012 at 8:00 pm

    I apologize for the typos. Obviously I meant “not limit their scope to the City.”

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