LANSING — Michigan residents who want to tell the world why they choose to live in Michigan have less than a week to enter the MIplace Sweepstakes, a contest that has elicited passionate testimonials about the state’s scenic wonders, changing seasons and friendly people.
Throughout the summer, Michigan residents have been navigating to a Facebook page and answering a simple question: Why do you choose to call Michigan home?
Roughly 225 Michigan homeowners have posted essays or videos extolling the Great Lakes State, and more than 1,000 people have “liked” the MIplace Sweepstakes page since the contest kicked off in late May.
The contest continues through the end of Monday, Sept. 3 — Labor Day. Michigan residents can enter the MIplace Sweepstakes through that day by submitting written or video testimonials at www.facebook.com/MIplace2012.
“We’ve always known that Michigan residents were a proud bunch, but even we are amazed that so many have taken the time to so eloquently express their love for the state,” said Joe Borgstrom, director of downtown and community services for the Michigan State Housing Development Authority, a contest sponsor along with Pure Michigan, Art Van Furniture and the Michigan Association of Realtors.
A consistent theme among the entries has been Michigan’s natural beauty — including that found in each of its distinct four seasons.
“Michigan offers beautiful land, amazing Great Lakes and so much fun!” one entrant wrote. “People can drive north, south east or west and encounter beauty all through the year!”
Another entrant expressed similar sentiments: “Michigan is the only state that encompasses the whole country. We have hot summers and snowy winters. You can go to a beach or rough it in the woods. Ski down a mountain or take a drive across the longest suspension bridge in the Western Hemisphere.”
The state’s people were singled out by other entrants.
“The people here welcome you with open arms and show respect,” one entry proclaimed. “We wanted our children to see firsthand the qualities that we are trying to teach them.”
Another extolled Michigan’s diverse population: “My neighborhood was as diverse as any you can imagine, and it molded me in numerous ways with the advantage of an open heart.”
All MIplace Sweepstakes entrants automatically receive a $50 Art Van gift card (good with any purchase of at least $499). The grand prize is a $3,000 Art Van shopping spree. The winning entrant, who will be selected randomly, will be announced after Tuesday, Sept. 4.
MSHDA, MAR, Art Van, the Michigan Economic Development Corp., Michigan Municipal League and the Small Business Association of Michigan are among the organizations helping neighborhoods, cities, regions and downtowns promote “place” as a way to spur economic development and restore Michigan to prosperity.
Placemaking is the phrase commonly used to describe the growing consensus that people, companies and talent do not move to specific communities — they move to regions. Thriving communities and successful regions are places that are attractive to employees, where connections can happen, where productivity and creativity increase, and where professional networks foster collaboration and innovation.
Michigan’s placemaking education campaign includes efforts like the MIplace Sweepstakes and the debut earlier this year of www.MIplace.org, Michigan’s one-stop website for everything about placemaking – what it is, where it’s happening across the state, and how to get started. The site offers inspirational firsthand accounts of Pure Michigan placemaking success stories, rich photography and videos.