Up to 10 finalist communities competed for $15,000 in awards during the competition at the 2019 Small Town and Rural Development Conference in Thompsonville on Wednesday.
“Consumers Energy is committed to supporting vibrant, thriving communities of all sizes in Michigan,” said Roger Curtis, the utility’s vice president of public affairs. “We have worked with small towns for over 130 years and are excited to help support their community development. We look forward to seeing ideas that will create even more excitement around the communities we serve.”
The “Put Your Town on the Map” competition rewards a variety of innovative ideas, such as those that attract visitors to downtowns; focus on issues like housing, education or employment; and create community pride.
At the conference, Sgt. Jason Kik of the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office gave a presentation on the Spring Lake mural project before learning that it took second place with a $5,000 award.
The mural will be located on the wall of a building adjacent to the Whistle Stop Playground along the Lakeside Trail. Once the piece is completed, the remaining funds will be used for more murals, sculptures or public art projects.
The idea for the mural came from two members of the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office as part of the Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design approach.
“It provides a community with some identity, which is a crime deterrent,” said Kik, who helped plan the campaign. “It also creates what we call natural surveillance, and it brings people in to the area to see the art and to be around."
The public has put many dollars behind the Art in the Park project, exceeding the $30,000 fundraising goal by $6,000, which qualifies the project for a $30,000 state grant match.
The village is currently seeking artists to beautify the backs of two buildings along the Lakeside Trail: Cruise & Travel Experts at 301 W. Savidge St. and Plantenga's Cleaners at 217 W. Savidge.
Submissions will be accepted through 11:59 p.m. May 10, and will go through three rounds of review. The application can be found at VisitSpringLakeMI.com.
Chosen artists will be notified in late May and the public art is expected to be unveiled in early October.