Letters

Letters 04-14-14

Benishek Inching

Regarding “Benishek No Environmentalist” I agree with Mr. Powell’s letter to the editor/ opinion of Congressman Dan Benishek’s poor environmental record and his penchant for putting corporate interests ahead of his constituents’...

Climate Change Warning

Currently there are three assaults on climate change. The first is on the integrity of the scientists who support human activity in climate change. Second is that humans are not capable of affecting the climate...

Fed Up About Roads

It has gotten to the point where I cringe when I have to drive around this area. There are areas in Traverse City that look like a war zone. When you have to spend more time viewing potholes instead on concentrating on the road, accidents are bound to happen...

Don’t Blame the IRS

I have not heard much about the reason for the IRS getting itself entangled with the scrutiny of certain conservative 501(c) groups (not for profit) seeking tax exemption. Groups seeking tax relief must be organizations that are operated “primarily for the purpose of bringing about civic betterment and social improvements.”


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They?re Honored: Raising a village ? one sidewalk at a time

Danielle Horvath - June 13th, 2011
They’re Honored: Raising a village – one sidewalk at a time
By Danielle Horvath
They say it takes a village to raise a child. So what does it take to
raise a village? That’s the question being asked in Honor, a hamlet of
less than 300 people just a stone’s throw from Platte River in Benzie
County. Long-known as a sportsmen’s paradise – in 1999, it was voted
Michigan’s top outdoor sports town by Sports Afield Magazine – Honor has
fallen a victim of the economy and is suffering from rural blight, with
empty storefronts, closed businesses, and abandoned buildings.
Doing something about it is Shantel Sellers, who grew up in Honor and
returned “home” last year to the house once owned by her family after
serving in the military, getting married and having three children.
“I have the best memories of growing up in Honor and we decided we wanted
to raise our family here,” she says. “We have travelled through many small
towns that are doing well and they all face challenges like we have here.
If we can bring people together and provide a place for them to voice
their concerns, their ideas, where we can work together on common goals,
real change can and does happen.”

TAKING ACTION
Last year, a grass roots effort started when Sellers and a small group of
residents went to the village council with concerns and ideas for
improvements. Within a few months, they formed the non-profit group HARP
(Honor Area Restoration Project.) They were able to secure a grant from
Rotary Charities to begin the process of bringing the community together
to consider some long and short term goals to help restore Honor to the
bustling, vibrant village it once was, while protecting the natural area
that surrounds it.
In April, the HARP group and the Village of Honor held the first of a
series of “Envision Honor” Community Vision Workshops which brought
together over 160 people who spent time brainstorming ideas, sharing
concerns and thoughts that could help to revitalize the town. From
preserving the history of the area, to encouraging informed growth and
development to improving streetscapes and organizing paint blitzes, there
was no lack of ideas.
Sellers says the support for their first community workshop “surpassed all
our expectations, and it was overwhelmingly positive.”

BIG HURDLES
Sellers admits to the many challenges involved in any revitalization
effort and many feel a sense of being overwhelmed and many people are
concerned that their taxes will be raised to pay for the efforts.
“That is an absolute detriment to any revitalization effort,” she says.
“We are in a very fragile economy that is service-based and seasonal; the
last thing anyone wants is higher taxes.
“We are working to coordinate benefits, fund-raisers, volunteers, grants,
etc., and increase the tax base through attracting new residents and more
businesses,” she adds. “We have a USDA grant to extend the sidewalk from
downtown to the shopping plaza, which is a great starting point to make
Honor a walking community, MDOT will be working on US 31 this summer with
highway improvements. Last summer, the township donated space for a skate
park that was built with all donated materials and a small army of
volunteers. It’s all about small steps that add up to big improvements.”

The HARP group meetings are the first Thursday of every month and open to
anyone interested. For more information, check them out online:
www.RestoreHonor.org.

 
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