I love the idea of this discussion for Bridgman. I love the recent changes like the Buzz that incorporates the schools, township, library and city all into one article that covers the seasons through Bridgman. I love the unifying discussion that was listed from the first meetings such as bike trails and better parks and coffee shops and bakeries. I think bike trails not only would allow ways to get around the city, but also help connect Bridgman to other communities and other beaches in the area. Biking the beaches (grand mere to warren dunes) or between the parks (lake twp. to toth) and beach would allow more locals use of city spaces. Also, when looking at the plans, incorporate the schools and library into the mix. Look at sidewalks or lack there of coming and going to the schools. Where there isn't an easily accessible sidewalk (or bike trail), parents choose to drive. The one thing I have noticed that would help tie all of these elements together is a few year round opportunities in Bridgman. The city is very much a one season town. After summer, the shops close, the beach closes, the parks close and you lose all sense of community when people go inside for half the year. I believe a community center would substantially add to the draw for Bridgman. Indoor programs such as workout/walking facilities, indoor gyms that can accommodate the rec programs like floor hockey and basketball (local church gyms and schools are overbooked), a banquet room for parties and community events. A senior center that allows exercises, games and topics for seniors. Young families are limited to school/library related activities only and Bridgman families travel away to visit ice skating rinks, gyms, and youth programs of all kinds in the off seasons. Bring the programs to Bridgman and you bring young families together and offer year round benefits for everyone. Another off season idea would be outdoor skating facility with a small warming building. This not only allows families to visit at their leisure, but adds a building for family events like Meet Santa in the warming building and such. Coming home to Bridgman is a beautiful slogan and many people do return to raise their families. I think focusing on building elements into the city design that incorporate their needs year round will make them never want to leave. The beach will always be ever changing due to climate and weather patterns. People shift their visits to another beach to meet their needs until the patterns shift them back. Protection for these beaches needs to be first priority in any plan. Caring for the waterways needs to be a priority as well. Drawing them into Bridgman to spend the day, or vacation, or permanently will all depend on what the city offers them in addition to the beach.
Tuesday, September 12, 2017