Traverse City has been selected as the Strongest Town by Strong Towns, a national media organization whose mission is to advocate for a model of development that allows America’s cities, towns and neighborhoods to grow financially strong and resilient.
Sixteen communities across North America were selected to compete in a bracket-based competition to determine who was the strongest. Towns were initially judged on criteria such as financial solvency, citizen engagement, transportation options and ability to adapt to new challenges.
On March 21, it was announced that Traverse City was squaring off against Guelph, Ontario for the championship faceoff. Traverse City won the public vote—which became a social media buzz. People across cyberspace cast their vote and ultimately crowned Traverse City the winner of the Strongest Town contest!
Traverse City Mayor Jim Carruthers, knowing some of the Strong Town Principles, saw exactly how Traverse City was able to win this international contest: “One of the principles of a Strong Town, as articulated in the contest criteria, matches Traverse City to a core—and that is that strong cities, towns and neighborhoods cannot happen without strong citizens, meaning citizens who care. Traverse City beams as a shining star throughout this region, state and country; and it’s because of the passion of our residents, staff and good governance by our boards and commissions. We thank everyone who saw that what Traverse City offers is special, and we thank them for voting for us.”
In a moment of city pride, City Manager Marty Colburn indicated, while an honor to win, it makes sense given the strategic decisions that have been made by City Commissions over the years: “Traverse City has had a history of thoughtfulness in leveraging our assets and resources—from natural resources to financial to human resources. Through strong, responsible and strategic policies that have been adopted by City Commissions, Traverse City is a leader. The financial resources of the city have been carefully spent with strategy in mind.”
Beyond the fantastic recognition, as the winner of the Strongest Town contest, Traverse City will be the recipient of a “curbside chat” hosted by Charles Marohn, President of Strong Towns. Three “big ideas” are central to Strong Towns thinking, and will be explored within the Curbside Chat program:
- The current path cities are pursuing is not financially stable.
- The future for most cities will not resemble the recent past.
- The main determinant of future prosperity for cities will be local leaders’ ability to transform their communities.
–Press release provided by City of Traverse City