Harrison Charter Twp. creates coastal vision for sustainable, inviting community

Bookmark and Share
Having trouble viewing this email? View it as a Web page.
A photo of a bike route and signage

Jan. 8, 2019

Harrison Township's coastal vision for a sustainable, inviting community

Harrison Charter Twp. Map - On the shores of Lake St. Clair

Harrison Charter Township, a coastal community in Macomb County on Lake St. Clair, is working to make sea change as it plans for its future. The area is defined by an abundance of active marinas, a world-class fishery and popular waterfront tourist destinations. To carry its coastal heritage forward, township officials identified a need for a shared waterfront vision to manage the economic and environmental aspects of coastal living, protecting what makes this Great Lakes community special. 

The township received $17,000 in matching Coastal Management Program support in 2014 to hold a series of public listening sessions. Community members contributed their ideas to create a vision for a dynamic and vibrant waterfront district that could be a regional destination for commerce, tourism and living. Building on that work, the vision took shape with an ambitious Waterfront Redevelopment Plan and the establishment of a Downtown Development Authority.

Residents wanted a walkable, enjoyable community with a coastal feel. They agreed that sidewalk cafes, green spaces, sustainable features and vibrant streets were desirable. They also felt that there were opportunities to improve convenience for people traveling by foot and bicycle, and that prime waterfront locations weren’t being used to their full potential.

Township officials began an implementation phase in 2017 with a $15,000 Coastal Program grant. They worked to establish a new waterfront district to update zoning, encourage mixed-use spaces, make it easier to establish desired businesses like sidewalk cafes, and create a Complete Streets Plan that incorporated bike lanes and public transit features. Encouraging the use of maritime architectural features was incorporated to maintain the feel and history of the community.

Complete Street example from Charlotte Complete Streets on Flickr - Creative Commons

The township also made plans to improve stormwater management, protecting Lake St. Clair water quality and reducing flooding risks through eye-catching gardens and bioswales meant to soak up rainwater.

Coming together to create a vision was the first step for Harrison Charter Township; the community continues to encourage waterfront development, pursue sustainability and let its coastal character shine.

Learn more about Michigan's Coastal Management Program online or contact program manager Ronda Wuycheck

Above photo: An example of a Complete Street via Charlotte Complete Streets on Flickr, showing accessible sidewalks, dedicated bike lanes, green buffer strips, and turn lanes. 

The Office of the Great Lakes works in partnership with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

DNR logo