Governor's Advisor for City Planning Talks to Rotary
November 25, 2012
By: Stephen Kent
Rodney A. Stokes
has a long history of service to the State of Michigan. He served as chief of the Parks and Recreation Division from 1997 to 2002 then as Director of the Dept of Natural Resources from from 2011 to 2012. Currently he is Special Advisor for City Placemaking to Governor Rick Snyder
When he took the new post, Stokes wasn't sure what "Placemaking" actually meant. He has determined that it is really just making things better than they are. He said there are four thing that lead to this:
A place must be easy to get to
It must be clean, safe, and attractive
If must be full of fun activities
It must be a friendly place that people want to go.
One of the first comments
Some of the projects described included Detroit's Eastern Market, Fort Wayne, and Belle Isle. Stokes was to meet that very afternoon with leaders of Detroit in an effort to make Belle Isle a State Park. The Isle, once a high profile place to be, has fallen on hard times. Making it a State Park could help restore its luster.
The Eastern Market is a great place but could be a destination for many more people. Detroit's Fort Wayne has a unique place in Michigan and US history, but it is falling into disrepair. "This will be one of the first things people see when entering the country on the new bridge" (which he says WILL be built). The Fort needs to be restored and cared for.
Having been in charge of state parks, Stokes was able to talk about some of those parks and the plans for the future. Michigan was recently awarded the bi-annual prize for having the best state park system in the country.
Stokes noted that he sees some resentment of the major cities by the smaller towns. He said we must instead embrace the fact that these large centers (Detroit, Lansing, Grand Rapids, etc.) attract people to the state itself. Cooperation benefits everyone.
Stokes wrapped up his remarks by inviting participants to contact him or his office for assistance. Noting that his office doesn't have a budget, he also said he's been in state government for 35 years and knows a lot of people. He finished to a good natured laugh by saying "I may not have the money, but I probably know who does."
CLUB NEWS and ANNOUNCEMENTS
Harry Farris held a special auction to raise money for the club Water Project. He said "Today you'll have a rare opportunity to buy an item which is sure to appreciate in value over the next three years. As you know in 2015 is the 100th anniversary of the founding of this club." He then produced a ticket to the club's gold anniversary dinner held in 1965. The face value was $5 for the event at the Saginaw Bay Yacht Club. "I'm sure that in three years this is going to sky rocket in value", said Harry.
The bidding for the $5 ticket opened at $5. After a good laugh things got serious until Jim Griffiths won with a bid of $35.
After giving the ticket to Jim Griffiths, Harry reached into his pocket and came out with two more tickets. "It just happens that I have the last two. They were found in the bottom of the drawer (I was president that year and got the left overs)." He sold those to the $25 and the $20 bidders. The cash went into the water project jugs at the side of the room.
The club welcomes Barb Behmlander, General Manager of the Bay City Mall, and Matt Felan, Director of the McLaren Bay Medical Foundation, as new members of the club.
We have enjoyed having member Bob Sherman with us during the warm months. Bob's heading back to Florida soon. We look forward to his return along with the flowers and robins next year.
This was "Birthday Tuesday" and we congratulate those members celebrating another year in the month of November.
Thanks to Rob Clark for the column in last week's Bay City Times where he talked about the Club's dictionary project. He noted that we had given out some 9,000 book since the project started.
The club has learned that the glass picture in the historic kiosk at the planetarium, which was shattered for the second time this September, is to be replaced. The new glass is on order now.
The hard working Programs Committee met today to discuss upcoming programs. Some great things are planned for the next few months.
It should be noted that there are program guidelines in the
member's club policy section of the club web site.
Log in at
SPECIAL FOOD The Doubletree wants all Rotarians to be aware that they will prepare special food items for those with dietary restrictions or requirements. Just ask one of the staff serving at the meeting.
The program on Dec 4 will be
a panel discussion with area school district superintendents.
The topic of the discussion will be collaboration between school districts. Eric Jylha will moderate the discussion. If there is a question you would like to ask the panel please email it to Ed Clements at
Invoices for the first half of 2013 have been mailed. Please respond as soon as possible.
Remember to contribute to the clean water campaign and contest:
Put SILVER in OUR JUG ---
PUT BILLS (and checks) in the MORNING JUG
DATES TO REMEMBER
School district superintendent panel discussion Dec 4, 2012.
Rotary Concert April 11, 2013.
(See the official schedule at
Dec 4, 2012: School District Superintendent's Panel.
Doug Newcombe, Shawn Bishop, John Mertz, Erin Sullivan, and Mike Knopf will talk about collaboration between school districts.
Dec 11, 2012: Rotary Foundation.
Dec 18, 2012: Annual Holiday Sing Alone.
Jan 15, 2013: General Assembly.
Topic will be International Night plans for the future.
Current and past DISTRICT DISPATCH newsletters are available on the District site shown in the LINKS section below.
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0202 nd 03-22-2019