April 21 • 09:35 AM

November 07, 2012
There is a buzz word these days among economic planners, municipalities and chambers of commerce— "Placemaking." How do you create a "Place?" How can your community become a "Place" in which people want to visit, live and do business?

"Place" is defined in Webster's Dictionary as "An area with definite or indefinite boundaries." The definition isn't very romantic or exciting.

However, the idea behind "Placemaking," according to MiPlace, is "…based on a single principle—people choose to settle in places that offer the amenities, social and professional networks, resources and opportunities to support thriving lifestyles."

MiPlace is a statewide initiative backed by the Pure Michigan campaign, the Michigan Municipal League, Michigan State University Land Institute and other major economic drivers in the state of Michigan.

I think about Imlay City as a "Place" a lot. As the director of the Chamber of Commerce, my job is to promote Imlay City and create a "place" where people want to visit, live and do business.

Visit: There are a myriad of reasons to visit Imlay City. We are home to the Eastern Michigan Fairgrounds and Woods-N-Water News Outdoor Weekend. The Chamber annually sponsors the Blueberry Festival which provides two days of quality family-friendly entertainment, the Merchant Trick-or- Treat, and the Cinco de Mayo Festival.

On December 8, the Chamber and the Downtown Development authority will sponsor the second annual Winter Playground which will feature merchant open houses, Santa and Mrs. Claus, carolers, crafts, horse-drawn wagon rides and much more.

Live: With over 150 members involved with the Chamber of Commerce, living in Imlay City offers convenient shopping and services. Whether it is a single entrepreneur opening his or her doors everyday to sell products and offer personal customer service or a large corporation selling parts to areas around the world, Imlay City has it.

We have a charming downtown with a beautiful streetscape that hosts summer concerts and movies and a weekly Farmers' Market. The Polly Ann Trail offers a beautiful and peaceful setting for an afternoon walk. Our police, fire and department of public works personnel work hard every day to create a safe and pleasant community and Imlay City Community Schools set the bar for educational programs.

Do Business: We are located halfway between Flint and Port Huron on a roadway that is gaining a lot of attention lately. Recently the City of Imlay City joined 34 other communities and created the I-69 International Trade Corridor Next Michigan Development Corporation. A program designed to help bring attention to our region's resources and thereby create jobs and economic growth.

The Imlay City SEED Group, of which the Chamber is a member, has been recognized by U of M Dearborn as one of 8 'Top Performing Entrepreneurial Communities' in the state. Our group's 'Entrepreneurial Meet Ups,' open door policy and business resource Web page were highlighted among our accomplishments. (I encourage you to take a look at the video U of M Dearborn created for Imlay City on the Chamber's website at

Imlay City's Industrial Park is seeing residents expand during these tough economic times. Vintech Industries is preparing to open a new, larger facility. Pinnacle Foods, located on Blacks Corners Road, recently announced it will invest $14.3 million for expansion of its Imlay City plant and create 29 new jobs. As a result, Pinnacle has been awarded an $800,000 Michigan Business Development Program incentive.

With the wonderful amenities, social and professional networks, resources and opportunities to support a thriving lifestyle, I think Imlay City is a "Place" to visit, live and do business in. Help spread the buzz—Imlay City is the Place to be!

The Chamber of Commerce would like to welcome new members who do business every day in our region and help create a sense of "Place:" UPS, Imlay City Home Goods, Pawn King, Muxlow Automotive Repair, Toth Properties, LLC, Imlay City Historical Commission and Maple Valley Plastics, LLC.

We would also like to thank our renewing members: Taylor, Butterfield, Howell, Churchill & Jarvis, P.C., Toyo Seat USA Corporation, Nacho's Mexican Restaurant and Little Friends Child Care.

For more information regarding the Imlay City Area Chamber of Commerce, please contact Dana Walker at 810-724-1361 or visit

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