Municipal League honors program

LANSING – The city of Gladstone earned top honors as the Michigan Municipal League’s Region 7 Community Excellence Award (CEA) winner at the League’s 2014 Capital Conference in Lansing on Tuesday, March 18.

Gladstone won for its After-School Ski Hill Program. Gladstone is known as the “year-round playground.” Up to 70 kids a day attend the city’s after-school ski hill program.

Students from Gladstone and surrounding schools can ride a bus three days a week to the city’s ski hill where they receive a healthy snack and homework assistance. At 4 p.m. they can tube, snowboard or ski. Equipment is provided as needed and lessons provided by the hill’s student/city employees. This program addresses latch-key issues, educational support, healthy eating and exercise, personal growth in skills and self-confidence, as well as employment and job skills for high school students. It makes a life-long hobby affordable and is a collaboration with area schools.

Region 7 includes all communities in the Upper Peninsula. The other communities that competed for the 2014 Region 7 CEA nomination were Ironwood and St. Ignace.

“This is a project that’s been very helpful in our community,” said Gladstone Mayor Pro Tem Hugo D. Mattonen, who accepted the regional award on the city’s behalf. “We have many partners that are excited about it. The children that attend our program are very excited about it. It’s one of those win-win programs for the community. We’re very excited about winning this CEA nomination and the fact that we get to share this effort with others throughout the state during the League’s Convention in Marquette in October. Being involved in this competition will let people all over Michigan know that we are the year-round playground in Gladstone, Michigan, and that we’re a great community, and we love our community.”

The Gladstone project will now go on to compete against the other six regional winners for the statewide CEA title at the League’s Annual Convention Oct. 14-17 in Marquette. The CEA program, affectionately called “The Race for the Cup,” was started by the League in 2007 to recognize innovative solutions taking place in Michigan’s cities, villages and urban townships.