What makes a city "cool?" Is it a leafy, green park and an inviting public square? Or is it a sidewalk bistro and an internet café? Maybe it's a jazz club or a coffee house that invites office workers to linger in your downtown well past 5:00 p.m. Maybe it's nothing more extravagant — or more important — than a quality neighborhood school, a job within walking distance and a safe path for getting to both. Whatever your vision of a cool city, we are working to make that vision a reality.
Building vibrant, energetic cities that attract jobs, people and opportunity to our state is a key component of Michigan Governor. Jennifer M. Granholm's economic vision for Michigan. Governor Granholm kicked-off the "Cool Cities" initiative in June, 2003 throughout the state, in part as an urban strategy to revitalize communities, build community spirit, and most importantly, retain our "knowledge workers" who are leaving Michigan in alarming numbers. One of the first steps was to send letters to mayors in 274 cities across the state asking them to participate by creating Local Cool City Advisory Groups (LCCAGs). An overwhelming response followed from nearly 130 cities and we anticipate additional cities requesting participation as the Cool City Movement continues to grow. They were also asked to participate in a survey that serves as a foundation for recommendations to the state on how to help cities with their own Cool City Initiatives.
Cool Cities is about creating hot jobs in cool neighborhoods throughout Michigan. It's about attracting and encouraging people – especially young people – to live, work and shop in the cool cities we are working hard to create together. Cities and regions with large numbers of urban pioneers, or what author Dr. Richard Florida describes as the "Creative Class," are thriving.
1. Support innovation. We need our communities to nurture the entrepreneurial spirit that produces the new businesses, new products and innovations that force us to see our world differently and create jobs. This innovation needs to be supported in all sectors and involve people of all ages.
2. Grow our talent. Michigan wants to support initiatives that provide opportunities to graduates and entrepreneurs in our communities. These initiatives encourage them to stay in our cities and allow us to grow the talent, innovation and creativity these individuals bring. Michigan produces many of the best minds in the world as a result of our schools, corporations and organizations. We need to retain this talent and attract others to continue the remarkable contributions we provide to our communities and the world.
3. Embrace diversity. Michigan is committed to supporting initiatives that provide new ways for people of different backgrounds, races, ages, sexual orientation and religions to easily connect and feel they can bring their talent and innovation to communities that welcome their diverse perspectives.
4. Invest in and build on quality of place. Michigan wants to support initiatives that make communities more unique, attractive, exciting and welcoming so people will choose to stay in or move to our unique cities.
5. Think regionally and act locally. Michigan is stronger and more competitive when we bring together our unique cities and our dynamic regions. It is difficult for any single city to match the wealth of opportunities and amenities that regions provide. We recognize that regional cooperation strengthens local initiatives.
6. Making new connections. Cool Cities is the catalyst for new connections. It brings people together and facilitates conversations between groups that may not have talked in the past for the benefit of our cities and state. These connections will provide the collaboration, synergy and momentum needed to bring ideas to fruition.
Bay City is a Cool City! In 2004, Bay City was awarded the designation of Cool City by Governor Granholm. Bay City proposed to build a waterfall park in our historic Downtown.