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For Immediate Release May 18, 2005
Bill Rustem, Public Sector Consultants
Michigan State University Receives $5.9 Million Kellogg Foundation Grant
The W.K. Kellogg Foundation has announced a $5.9 million investment over three years in the Michigan State University Land Policy Program to support land use policy research, education, and innovation in partnership with Public Sector Consultants (PSC), a Lansing-based public policy research firm.
"We hope this grant will help Michigan State further develop the tools necessary to help the people of Michigan make wise land use decisions into the future," said Rick Foster, Kellogg Foundation vice president of Food System and Rural Development. The principle partner in implementing the grant will be the MSU Land Policy Program (LPP), which is directed by Soji Adelaja, the first John A. Hannah Distinguished Professor in Land Policy at Michigan State University.
People and Land (PAL) is credited with helping to begin changing the Michigan landscape, literally. For the most part, PAL’s approach has been to educate, inform, and convene, bringing together diverse voices, from environmentalists and farming interests to REALTORS® and developers, and building a new consensus on challenging land use issues. Several PAL grantees and PAL Advisory Group members were key leaders behind the work of the Michigan Land Use Leadership Council, a bi-partisan panel appointed by Governor Granholm that made over 150 recommendations in 2003 to Michigan legislators and local and state policy makers. Since then, three land use-related executive orders/directives have been released, and numerous bills have been signed into law.
Through the new legislation, cities have been given innovative tools to take control of their destinies by helping them to remove barriers to redevelopment while promoting collaboration between the public and private sectors. As a result of dialogues facilitated by PAL, diverse partnerships have been established to help sustain Michigan’s agriculture industry and rural character by promoting local farmland preservation programs and green infrastructure planning. In 2004, diverse interests came together during local and state elections to inform voters and candidates about land use issues. Through PAL grant making, municipal leaders have gained easier access to valuable training and information to help them in making land use decisions.
Bill Rustem, the president of Public Sector Consultants who directed previous PAL work, will serve as co-director of the Phase III PAL work with Professor Soji Adelaja. "PAL’s accomplishments have been second to none in raising the awareness of land use issues in the state," said Rustem. "But much more needs to be done. MSU’s Land Policy Program is positioned to take the lead in demonstrating how an engaged university and creative faculty can support Michigan communities and government with research-based information as they work to make smarter land use decisions."
"PAL III funding will allow us to establish a sustainable land use change infrastructure that will compete nationally in attracting resources to implement effective land use solutions in Michigan. MSU will be able to deepen its research, and expand its outreach through the PAL network of communities and organizations and through the direct engagement of Extension at the local level," stated Professor Soji Adelaja.
"We at Michigan State University are excited to have the generous support of the Kellogg Foundation to enhance our work with the people of Michigan to find innovative solutions to one of the most critical issues affecting both quality of life and economic competitiveness," said President Lou Anna K. Simon.
Land Policy Program goals under Phase III of PAL include focused and timely delivery of relevant research to land use stakeholders, engaging university faculty to provide appropriate expertise to Michigan communities and governments, leveraging Michigan resources to attract competitive national funds, and reshaping the university’s Extension outreach activities to empower land use decision-makers.
The new PAL funding will allow the continuation of the PAL re-grants program that has invested in many community and organizational projects and built partnerships across the state. In addition, it will help establish a new competitive higher education land use research grants program that would support faculty from Michigan State University, Wayne State University, the University of Michigan, and Grand Valley State University in pursuing relevant research to address the needs of stakeholders in land use.
PAL funding will assist expansion of the rural-urban coalition approach used by United Growth of Kent County to create a statewide United Growth network as well as assist implementation of "Picture Michigan Tomorrow," a critical initiative to produce a land-use, land-cover forecast model that provides critical information to state and local policy makers. This new funding will facilitate recruitment of a new core team, "Land Policy Extension Educators," who will address local land use education needs. PAL funding will also assist development of community Smart Growth Readiness Assessment Tools and Land Use Legislative Policy Education Series as well as studies on the options and tools for municipal coordination and integration, impact of state subsidies on growth patterns, and impact of density on school revenues and costs.
"Michigan is unique: no other state can boast of this kind of public-private partnerships infrastructure in land use policy" stated Professor Adelaja. "Success in addressing land use issues like sprawl, traffic congestion, and resource conservation is critical to Michigan’s future prosperity and a broad consensus is forming around that premise."
Amy Spray, Consultant for Natural Resources
People and Land Assistant Program Manager
Public Sector Consultants Inc.
600 W. Saint Joseph St. Suite 10
Lansing, MI 48933-2267