Monday, April 2, at an invite only event at Eaton Rapids City Hall, Governor Snyder visited the Island City to congratulate city officials, local business owners, and other community organizers for Eaton Rapids’ acceptance into the state’s Rising Tide program. The program was developed by the governor in order to equip communities with technical assistance in marketing and branding their towns, as well as preparing the communities for infrastructure changes.

At the April 2 event, invitees heard not only the governor’s congratulations, but also glimpsed a bird’s eye view of all the possibilities that can be achieved by towns through the Rising Tide program. Those in attendance heard from Charlotte’s city manager, Gregg Guetschow, who has seen firsthand how such state programs have aided Eaton Rapids’ neighbors.

The testimony from a neighboring city manager was encouraging to Aaron Desentz, the new city manager of Eaton Rapids. When he stepped into the new role as city manager, Desentz was excited by a number of activities and opportunities in the city of Eaton Rapids, but initiatives and programs like Michigan Main Street and Rising Tide were the icing on the cake. Desentz, who is a good friend of Guetschow, heard good things about Rising Tide, and is eager to see what Eaton Rapids can achieve by participating.

“In these economic trainings they give you a tool box. I’m excited to unpack the tool box,” said Desentz.

Rising Tide will be an umbrella program for Michigan Main Street, a program Eaton Rapids is already an acting member of, and also for Redevelopment Ready Communities, a program that helps communities streamline some of the red tape and processes for economic and infrastructural development. Rising Tide, in Desentz’ view, will be the unifying effort where all place making, branding, and structural efforts meet.

“The meeting (April 2) was to broaden and deepen the buy in,” said Desentz. “It’s recognizing where we want to go, get everyone moving toward that vision.”

The implications of participation in Rising Tide, Michigan Main Street, and Redevelopment Ready communities have the potential to be deep and widespread. Being proactive with the tools with which the programs equip communities can provide solutions for problems concerning housing, inviting and retaining new businesses in town, advertising the city to a wider audience, and becoming a niche or tourist town. Rising Tide places member communities at the top of lists for financial, economic, and technical assistance.

The key to the programs, according to Desentz and dozens of other community organizers is community input and participation. Citizen involvement in Main Street committees, Rising Tide forums, and place making brainstorming sessions will be the fuel the programs run on.

To learn more about Rising Tide, readers can visit, or call Eaton Rapids City Hall, (517) 663-8118, to hear from city manager Desentz about how to get involved and how the program is progressing.