Point West Art and Trail Project Crowdfunding Campaign a Success!

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As part of our work with the Saginaw Oakland Commercial Association (SOCA), we launched a crowdfunding campaignfor the Point West Art and Trail Project through the Michigan-based platform Patronicity. This campaign spanned 28 days and successfully raised $13,350 from 94 donors. As a result of reaching our goal, the MEDC and MSHDA will grant SOCA a 1-to-1 match of the first $13,000 raised, bringing the grand total to $26,350!

The Point West Project has four key goals: first, it will CONNECT two City of Lansing parks with a one-mile multi-use recreational trail that will be accessible from both sides of the Saginaw-Oakland corridor. Second, it will RESTORE native landscapes by installing a major wildflower planting in West Side Park. Third, it will TRANSFORM the western Lansing city limits into a gateway via a public sculpture art installation, and fourth, it will CALM traffic calming on M-43, making the area safer and more attractive for pedestrians and bicyclists.

The campaign was approved through the Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s Public Spaces Community Places Program. In 2015, the partnership between Patronicity and MEDC / MSHDA raised and granted over $3.2 million dollars for placemaking projects across the State of Michigan. We’re proud to be a successful participant!

Bike Economic Impact Study featured in APA Newsletter

Our firm’s work to quantify the Community and Economic Benefits of Bicycling in Michigan was featured in the Summer 2015 American Planning Association (APA) Transportation Planning Newsletter. We teamed up with the Michigan Department of Transportation and BBC Research and Consulting on a two-year, two-phase project to examine the total annual economic impact of bicycling in Michigan, which we estimated at $668 million. Across the state, we found that nearly 800 people are employed in a bicycle-related field. Many of these jobs are in retail sales, with an estimated total annual revenue of $63 million.

Our team handled all of the in-state outreach and research for this report. In addition to examining the total state economic impact, we also measured the tourism and event impact of bicycling in Michigan. Event participation and in-state tourism spending by Michiganders are a major part of the bicycle economy, accounting for $438 million in annual spending.

Click here to view the newsletter article.

RNC Research: Michigan bike events bring $21.9 million economic impact

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We’re thrilled to see the release of a new report by the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) that finds out-of-state participants in organized Michigan bicycling events are responsible for an estimated $21.9 million in economic impact for the state. R. Neuner Consulting worked with MDOT and BBC Research and Consulting on this project, the second phase of the “Community and Economic Benefits of Bicycling in Michigan” project, funded by federal and state planning and research funds and aimed at describing the economic benefits that bicycling brings to the Michigan economy.

Bicycling events of various size and type were selected for analysis in order to compare the variety of economic impact, including the Tour de troit and the Apple Cider Century. R. Neuner Consulting completed on-site, in-person survey research at the events in 2014, and assisted with the overall analysis . For more information, please visit the MDOT website.

New Report on Women in Agriculture in Michigan

We are excited to share a new publication that RNC Principal Rory Neuner co-authored, called “Discovering Ourselves: A Pilot Network of Women-in-Agriculture Genesee County and Extended Area”. This report outlines the planning process, proceedings and lessons learned from a unique pilot project that created a women in agriculture network in Genesee County. This project was led by Michigan Food and Farming Systems (MIFFS) in cooperation with the MSU Center for Regional Food Systems. RNC provided facilitation work to the project, which began in 2013 and wrapped up in fall 2014.

Read the full report by clicking here.

 

Introducing… SOCA

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For the last two years we’ve worked with a small, community-based non-profit organization working to revitalize one of Lansing’s most critical commercial corridors — the Saginaw Street and Oakland Avenue one-way pairs. This fall we completed a several month effort to re-brand this organization (formerly the Westside Commercial Association) and launch a new identity: the Saginaw Oakland Commercial Association, or SOCA, for short!

Thanks to the fine team at Lansing’s Redhead Design Studio, we launched this new logo in November. In the coming months we will continue to work with SOCA to find ways to creatively engage businesses and neighborhood partners to work together to revitalize the corridor. Learn more at www.socalansing.org.

Welcome aboard, Jocelyn Hayward!

We’re thrilled to announce that Jocelyn Hayward has joined the RNC team as an Associate. Jocelyn recently completed her MPH at the University of Kentucky, and brings a great perspective on health and sustainability to our portfolio of work.

As a graduate student, Jocelyn completed research on the National School Lunch Program in six rural Kentucky elementary schools, and a practicum with the Tweens Nutrition and Fitness Coalition, where she helped successfully bring healthy food options to several after-school snack shops. This work earned her the Community Service Award from the University of Kentucky’s College of Public Health for outstanding public health service to inner-city communities in Kentucky.

Read all about Jocelyn on this page, or send her a welcome note at jocelyn@roryneuner.com.

Released: Phase I MDOT Economic Impact of Bicycling Report

After many months of writing, edits, approvals, and some waiting, the Phase I MDOT Economic Impact of Bicycling Report is now available.

The 2014 report finds that bicycling provides an estimated $668 million per year in economic benefit to Michigan’s economy, including employment, retail revenue, tourism expenditure, and increased health and productivity. Case studies of five Michigan communities are also now available (including Ann Arbor, Detroit, Grand Rapids, Holland, and Traverse City).

Phase II of this project is now underway and will include more specific data on the economic impact of bicycling events, bicycle touring, and Michigan as a bicycle destination. That phase is scheduled to be complete in spring 2015.

If your business or organization is interested in hearing more about the study or reviewing the findings, please contact us.

Women in Agriculture Network Featured in Good Food Newsletter

MIFFS_WomenAg_1Did you know that there are almost one million female farmers in the United States? According to the USDA Agriculture Census, Michigan alone saw an increase of 17.6% female farmers between 2002 to 2007.

Increasing the number of women in agriculture requires that new support systems be created. To that end, I’ve been working with the MIFFS Facilitation Team as the lead facilitator on an exciting project to engage female producers in Genesee County. Thanks to generous support from the Center for Regional Food Systems at MSU, the Women in Agriculture Network of Genesee County has been meeting regularly throughout 2014. The project was featured in the July 2014 edition of the Michigan Good Food Newsletter. Read more by clicking here.

We’ve moved!

IMG_4545As of May 1st, 2014, R. Neuner Consulting is located in the historic Morgan B. Hungerford House at 602 W. Ionia Street in Lansing. We’re leasing office space from our friends at the Michigan Environmental Council, who own the building and occupy most of it as their state headquarters. The late Victorian house was designed by architect Darius B. Moon, and was built by Morgan B. Hungerford in 1880. According to the building’s historical marker, Hungerford farmed a large tract of land in this area of Lansing, and served briefly as justice of the peace for Lansing Township. MEC recently bought the building from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, and has been working to renovate the structure to obtain LEED Platinum certification. We’re excited to be located in a space that exemplifies our passion for historic preservation, placemaking, and sustainable environmental design. Stop in and say hello!

MIFFS Facilitation Team

I’m delighted to be working on several food systems projects with the Michigan Food and Farming Systems (MIFFS) Facilitation Team. MIFFS currently offers food systems facilitation services to clients across Michigan. Current and/or recent projects include conducting focus groups for the Eaton Good Food planning initiative, serving as the lead facilitator for the new Women in Agriculture Network in Genesee County, and as a co-facilitator to help the Ecology Center and the MSU Center for Regional Food Systems launch the Michigan Farm to Institution Network.

Visit MIFFS’ website for more information on the Facilitation Team’s work.

#LoveLansing profile in the Lansing State Journal

I’m proud to be profiled in the November 20, 2013 edition of the Lansing State Journal, along with three other leaders in Lansing. Thank you to the LSJ for the opportunity to talk about the work I do (and love).

Click here to read the complete story.

MDOT Economic Impact of Bicycling Study

I’m working on Phase II of a research study with the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) and BBC Research & Consulting to quantify the economic and community benefits of bicycling in Michigan. Phase II is aimed at quantifying the impact that bicycling events and tourism have on Michigan’s economy. To that end, I’ll be conducting in-person surveys at the following 2014 Michigan bicycling events:

– The Michigander (Reed City)
– DALMAC (East Lansing)
– Ore to Shore (Marquette)
– Apple Cider Century (Three Oaks)
– Tour de Troit (Detroit)
– Bell’s Iceman Cometh (Traverse City)

Say hello if you’re attending one of those events (and take a survey, too). The final product of Phases I and II of this study will estimate the economic value that a variety of bicycle-related industries, activities and events have on Michigan’s economy. Stay tuned for links to our final published reports and data.

Bicycles on Amtrak Demonstration Project

In May 2013, I was invited to participate in a test run of bicycle parking facilities on-board the Amtrak’s Wolverine route between Chicago and Pontiac. Amtrak and MDOT officials wanted to test the concept through a controlled demonstration run. Not only was I honored to participate, it is exciting to see this mulit-modal project move forward. Thanks to Josh DeBruyn at MDOT and Derrick James at Amtrak for the chance to participate.

Read a full write-up of the test run over at the League of Michigan Bicyclists’ website.

Update: On August 29, 2013, Amtrak and MDOT welcomed bicycles on-board Blue Water Trains between Port Huron, Michigan, and Chicago, Illinois. Read more here.

MSU Non-Profit Communication & Fundraising Survey

I recently partnered with Professor Wendi Tilden at Michigan State University’s Professional Writing Program and the Writing, Rhetoric & American Cultures Department to develop a monthly nonprofit communication workshop series designed to bolster the effectiveness of area non-profit organizations. We surveyed executive director and management staff in Greater Lansing non-profits to ensure the workshops meet educational and professional development needs and stay affordable. Interested in more information? Review the survey here.

Greater Lansing Food Hub Learning Circles

As part of my role as a Local Consultant with the Michigan Food Hub Learning and Innovation Network, I am excited to partner with the Allen Neighborhood Center and Michigan State University Extension on hosting a series of co-learning sessions in 2013. We’re calling the project the Greater Lansing Food Hub Learning Circles. Click here to view a PDF overview of the project.

Complete Streets + Road Commissions

Yesterday my writing appeared in a guest post over at My Wheels Are Turning, a blog about public space curated by Gary Howe in Traverse City, Michigan. The piece focused on the opportunity for Michigan complete streets advocates to seize on new legislation that allows county governments to dissolve road commissions. Moving policies at the county level has been a major challenge to Michigan’s complete streets movement. I hope a few advocates will use the piece as inspiration to work toward complete streets at the county level. Thanks to Gary for the opportunity to share my analysis.

Creating a Livable Lansing

I was honored to participate in the inaugural TedXLansing event in May 2010. This was a unique and challenging public speaking opportunity. My piece, “Creating a Livable Lansing”, can be viewed here.