Over the years, Northwest Indiana cities and towns have become a hotspot for tourists to visit and families to find their forever homes. The Region has turned into the thriving area it is today, thanks to the hard work and dedication from community leaders who have implemented initiatives and programs to rebrand, promote the cities’ features, and boost economies.
Michigan City was one of the Region spots to begin this process. Back in 2015, the city began a long term rebranding, strategic direction, and communication campaign. Its goal was to put a spotlight on the city’s diverse culture, activities, and lifestyle, along with everyone who works hard to make Michigan City the special place it is.
The theme of the campaign is Create, Play, Repeat: Create puts a spotlight on the local artists, creators, makers, and more; Play highlights the incredible attractions, businesses, cuisine, and shopping; and Repeat is an ode to the family and business oriented lifestyle that has drawn people to the city for years.
“Michigan City has so many great assets, and we have used the high energy, community involved, stakeholder oriented approach to our efforts to bring those together and it has been great,” said Mayor Ron Meer. “That effort has taken multiple years but has happened with committed involvement of everyone across my team, as well as the Michigan City Now group, the redevelopment commission, the Main Street Association, the Uptown Arts District, and countless business owners and residents throughout the community.”
“We all have a piece of ownership in these plans. I have brought great people onto this team, and then I let them do their job and get out of their way, so my thanks go to all of them.”
The Michigan City community came out in droves to help with the rebranding process, but one person brought expertise and experience and helped to lead the beginning of the campaign.
Roger Brooks, a travel keynote speaker and change-agent, of Roger Brooks International was brought onto the project in the beginning and helped put the long term “Create, Play, and Repeat” plan into motion back in 2015. For over 30 years, Brooks has traveled around the world to help communities looking for advice in placemaking, travel trends, community branding, and downtown revitalization.
When the campaign began three years ago, Brooks’s plan was to put a spotlight on the “combination of grit, creativity, entrepreneurialism, and opportunity in a cool beach town and water recreation setting.” And now, three years after leaving the campaign in the qualified hands of the Michigan City community, Brooks is heading back to see all of the progress the city has made.
“It is great to have Roger coming back and seeing that we have more momentum than we have ever had, that people are thinking and talking about Michigan City in a whole new light,” said Richard Murphy, Controller of Michigan City. “We have turned around not only how the community and the Region thinks about Michigan City, but also the national interest in the real estate investment arena now that they are seeing both the current and future potential activity in Michigan City.”
Brooks will be coming to Michigan City for a special event on August 9th to see all of that progress up close and personal. There, he will celebrate the success of the campaign with the entire community.
“The event will include examples of the outstanding content and communication that has been created for the City by their marketing partners at WeCreate Media, will have local food and drink available and give everyone a perspective on the campaign for ideas for the plaza these upcoming months,” Murphy said. “Roger has told us that we are knocking it out of the park by putting into action this bold and beautiful strategy.”
Meer and Murphy are looking forward to this event, but they are also excited for the next phase of the project. This phase includes going out into the community to get input for the new downtown plaza.
“The next phase is an engaged effort seeking public input across all of our neighborhoods with all ages and demograhics,” Meer said. “What they want to see in the new downtown plaza that will be developed on the properties that the city has acquired. That will connect the lakefront, the arts district, main street, and the outlet mall activity.”
“The plaza is going to be as versatile as possible to allow for activities among all groups,” said Murphy. “There is room for everybody in this community and the plaza is going to be a place where you see this city come together.”
The downtown plaza, the upcoming event with Roger Brooks, and the entire “Create, Play, Repeat” campaign shows exactly what happens when the community comes together. Each parties’ dedication to the campaign has created a thriving community that will continue to grow in the coming years.
Learn more about the event at www.createplayrepeat.com.