The Nov. 11 Oscoda Township board meeting featured talks on the various plans and strategies which have been drawn up to help guide the future of the community.

OSCODA – It has been more than a year in the making, and the deliverables associated with various plans for Oscoda Township were approved at the Nov. 11 board of trustees meeting.

The documents can be accessed in their entirety on the home page of the township website, at www.oscodatownshipmi.gov, which is also where the full presentation of Oscoda’s latest branding concept can be viewed.

The first item discussed by board members was the 2019 Oscoda Township Economic Development & Community Marketing Strategy and Downtown Plan.

This and the other documents at hand were prepared by PlaceLeap, which is comprised of Place & Main Advisors of East Lansing, and branding and urban planning firm Arnett Muldrow & Associates, of Greenville, S.C.

The formal strategies were presented by PlaceLeap representatives Joe Borgstrom and Ben Muldrow, during a township board work session on Oct. 29, and are also included in the latest board meeting packet on the township website.

Superintendent Dave Schaeffer advised that Oscoda’s Economic Improvement Committee (EIC) will be working in conjunction with the planning commission to prioritize these initiatives and align the efforts with the township’s master plan, capital improvement plan and the annual budget.

He said the board should also note that the adoption of these strategies demonstrates significant progress for the township toward the Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s (MEDC) Redevelopment Ready Communities certification.

Clerk John Nordeen remarked that the product was very good – especially considering the funding which was leveraged to accomplish this – and that he is excited for the next step.

As reported, the township received $30,000 in technical assistance from the MEDC to obtain the deliverables.

The Economic Development & Community Marketing Strategy and Downtown Plan was approved by the board in a 5-0 vote, with Trustees Martin Gayeski and Jim Baier not in attendance.

In related matters, another 5-0 vote was cast to approve the 2019 Oscoda Township Strategic Communications Plan.

Also prepared by PlaceLeap, this plan was formally presented during the Oct. 29 work session, as well.

Schaeffer said the purpose of the plan is to assist in aligning the township’s communications with the core goals and values, positioning Oscoda to be proactive and strategic, and become the trusted source for local information.

Officials then went over the 2019 Oscoda Township Place Branding Plan, which was also presented at the work session.

Schaeffer shared that he has received overwhelmingly positive feedback on the township’s brand statement, which reads as follows:

Just up Michigan’s Sunrise Coast, past the speeding interstate, is a community where vacations begin and never end.

A place where the sun is served fresh daily.

A place people came because of the land and stayed because of the water.

A place that defended our country and protected the globe. 

A place where the legend of the lumberjack was born.

A place where life on these sandy beaches thrives through all four seasons.

We are Oscoda, and we are proud of this place we call home. This place where opportunity truly exists. We invite you to spread your wings and take flight.”

In addition to the presentation being on the township website, the branding plan was included in the latest board of trustees meeting packet, along with the associated implementation guide that will be used by the EIC.

This effort also resulted in logo options for Oscoda, which incorporate the “Take Flight” phrase.

“I loved it,” said Trustee Timothy Cummings, adding that the brand statement and logos are fresh, and that he liked the graphics, the cleanliness and the appearance. “I think it’s just fabulous.”

Trustees approved the branding plan 5-0, as presented.

In similar business, officials discussed legal services for trademarks.

“The very last page of the Place Branding Plan document detailed above includes a Copyright Transfer Statement from Arnett Muldrow & Associates,” Schaeffer stated. “The Township needs to protect its investment in the Place Branding efforts by filing formal trademark applications.”

Therefore, trustees approved a $2,530 invoice from Erik M. Pelton & Associates, PLLC, of Falls Church, Va., which specializes in obtaining trademarks.

As reported, Place & Main Advisors was hired by the township last year – at a cost of $10,000 – to help facilitate strategic planning efforts, with an emphasis on economic development for Oscoda.

Beginning in the fall of 2018, the process included the formulation of a vision and mission statement for the community; the setting of seven strategic goals to implement; multiple focus groups with the steering committee/other stakeholders; a public session which focused on an analysis of the township’s economic development Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT); and a community wide survey – all of which have been previously summarized in the Oscoda Press. 

As noted in the township’s new strategic plan, all of the work sessions were open to the public and took into consideration the input and feedback the community gave through the online surveys, SWOT analysis and focus groups.

Since then, Borgstrom and Muldrow visited Oscoda several different times, in order to officially put together the aforementioned plans and strategies.