Cool Cities is an initiative kicked off by Governor Jennifer M. Granholm in June of 2003. It is an urban strategy to revitalize communities, build community pride and retain workers that are leaving Michigan in high numbers. The state is using Cool Cities to highlight walkability as a key attribute to a hip and vibrant city. Those communities that sign up with the initiative will receive small grants to their downtown business districts in an effort to expand parks, improve sidewalks, rebuild streets, add lighting, establish farmers markets and preserve historic structures.
So far 130 Michigan cities have expressed interest in becoming .Cool.. The program has a four-stage approach of listening, planning, acting and measuring, with six defining principles: support innovation, grow talent, embrace diversity, invest in and build on quality of place, think regionally and act locally, and make new connections.
The program has also adopted a TIDE model of growth .focusing on the TIDE of economic development: Talent, Innovations, Diversity, Environment.. TIDE recognizes that creative workers demand natural, recreational, cultural and lifestyle amenities and that they are drawn to bike paths and climbing walls.
Currently, Cool City meetings are being held all over the state, while some towns, such as Jackson, are conducting collegiate contests in which students compete in the redesign of a downtown area.
Strengthen cities through redesign and visionary initiative that promotes vibrant energetic communities, attracting jobs, people and opportunity.