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Beckett & Raeder, Inc. Wins Three Prestigious State Planning Awards

Ann Arbor, Michigan – September 12, 2018 – Beckett & Raeder, Inc. (BRI) will receive three Planning Excellence Awards from the Michigan Association of Planning (MAP/APA Michigan) this year. The awards ceremony will take place at MAP’s annual conference, Planning Michigan, on September 20, 2018 at the Amway Grand Hotel in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

  • Planning for Community Resilience in Michigan: A Comprehensive Handbook, Best Practice Award

  • Jackson Downtown Streetscape, Urban Design Award

  • Project Rising Tide,Economic Planning and Development Award

The three projects receiving awards were so successful thanks to the hard work and dedication of many of our partners and communities from all across the state of Michigan. Learn more about each project below.

Planning for Community Resilience in Michigan: A Comprehensive Handbook, Best Practice Award

Numerous state agencies and organizations teamed up to support the development of the Handbook as a way of helping communities address the complex issues associated with climate change. As one of the authors of the handbook, Claire Karner, BRI Associate says, “We attempted to provide a comprehensive guide for anyone interested in embarking on an inclusive and transparent resiliency planning process in their community—the handbook is complete with data, resources, tools, case studies, and inspiration from Michigan resiliency leaders.” Harry Burkholder, Executive Director, Land Information Access Association (LIAA), adds, “We are especially thrilled to share this MAP award with Beckett and Raeder as well as the many local officials, university partners, state officials, and active practitioners who contributed to its content.” Learn more:

Jackson Downtown Streetscape,Urban Design Award

The City of Jackson, Michigan was looking for a streetscape that would incorporate placemaking principles to activate the downtown and entice people to partake in its burgeoning renaissance. The plan called for pedestrian-friendly features that would demote the car on the vehicular hierarchy so that passers-by could stroll leisurely without fear of a collision. The plan called for “greening” the streetscape by increasing foliage in the newly created planter spaces and expanded tree canopy coverage to protect visitors from the elements. Narrowed streets and widened sidewalks were a boon for shoppers and business owners alike but did not come at the cost of reducing parking. Switching parallel spots to angled parking meant that no spots were lost, and quarrels with the public avoided. The implementation of this project was a win-win for all users. Learn more:

Project Rising Tide,Economic Planning and Development Award

BRI Senior Associate and Project Manager for the Project Rising Tide Project, Leah DuMouchel, sums it up like this, “The best thing about this project is that it has been fully community-driven. Each one took the time to really develop their own goals and to pull together a team of invested movers and shakers who were interested in making things happen, and this investment was the magic ingredient every time.” Project Rising Tide is a­­­­­ governor-initiated program designed to spread Michigan’s economic comeback beyond the State’s largest and oldest urban cores by providing tangible tools and resources to a different type of community: less populous and often less urbanized, with an operational relationship to its rural surroundings, and characterized by indicators of e­­­conomic distress such as poverty, unemployment, and high rental occupancy and vacancy. Learn more:

Based on these statistics, one village or city in each of the State’s ten prosperity regions was selected to receive concentrated technical assistance in a variety of forms: Newberry, Central Lake, Grayling, Evart, Harrison, Sandusky, Charlotte, Paw Paw, Hillsdale, and River Rouge. Larry Eckhardt, Village Manager in Central Lake says, “Project Rising Tide allowed us to dream of a better and more prosperous future by synthesizing the resources to help us form an economic development plan. Though the process was a lot of work for a few dedicated individuals it has helped us focus and prepare for a more prosperous future. We still have needs, we still have budget constraints, but because of Project Rising Tide we have a more solid foundation to move into the future.”

The consultant consortium that provided technical assistance to the Project Rising Tide communities includes BRI, Place & Main Advisors, Arnett Muldrow Associates, Land Use USA, and Advanced Redevelopment Solutions.

BRI wishes to thank all of the partners and communities we worked with along the way to bring these projects to successful fruition, as well as the Michigan Association of Planning for recognizing the effort. We look forward to continued connection to the ideas, momentum, and communities that were catalyzed by these projects and all of the new and exciting opportunities that they will surely bring about.

The Michigan Association of Planning, the state chapter of the American Planning Association, is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting sound community land use planning that benefits the residents of Michigan. Learn more at

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