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Petoskey Sustainability Framework
Communities across Michigan are wrestling with difficult economic, social and environmental challenges. The shifting global economy is forcing big changes in business practices and employment. State and federal cost-sharing has declined, and new long-term assistance appears unlikely. A booming housing market has created housing instability and affordability issues for some of the most vulnerable citizens. Making matters worst, the harmful impacts of climate variability on agriculture, infrastructure, human health, energy systems and the natural environment are being felt everywhere. This is especially true in coastal communities, where changes in the climate along with dynamic changes in Great Lakes water levels has led to increased shoreline erosion and coastal flooding.
However, with thoughtful consideration, planning and preparation, communities can weather the storms and recover, becoming even better places to live and thrive. Through robust and sincere civic engagement and community-wide planning, cities like Petoskey can actively cultivate their abilities to respond to and recover from adverse situations and events, work to strengthen and build local economies and communication networks, increase social capital and civic engagement, enhance ecosystem services, improve human health and social systems, and build local capacity to adapt to changing times. In doing so, cities like Petoskey can truly become sustainable cities — cities in which economic, environmental and social systems are optimized and in balance to create and sustain an improved and positive quality of life for their citizens.
Over the last year, the City of Petoskey has participated in a series of discussions around building and fostering sustainability and resilience in cooperation with other municipalities, regional advocacy groups and several community foundations throughout northwest Lower Michigan. Based on these robust discussions, the City of Petoskey is now ready to take the next step and develop a Sustainability Framework for the City. In doing so, the Sustainability Framework would provide the structure for a new Master Plan for the City (2019) and help unify past and current planning efforts by recognizing a common set of priorities and establishing a set of overarching sustainability goals for the City. As part of this effort, the City plans to inform and engage the community, key staff and local officials about sustainability, resilience and related best practices, and how these concepts are important to Petoskey.
In addition, the civic engagement activities proposed here could complement and/or supplement future civic engagement activities planned by Emmet County as part of its upcoming County-wide Master Planning process