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Best mid-Michigan downtowns?

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Posted

I was wondering what you guys thought were the best downtowns in mid-Michigan. Rank them in order if you can but hearing about what ones you think are really nice is cool too.

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Posted

That's kind of hard for me since I've only seen a few. Based on what I've seen:

1. Bay City - I haven't been there in person, but from pictures it looks very nice. There's a lot of condo activity going on and the waterfront seems to be in great use. It looks like it has a bright future ahead of it.

2. Saginaw - I haven't been to Saginaw's downtown during business hours, so I don't know how active it gets. Even though there are only 2 buildings that come close to being called a highrise (in generic terms, not skyscraper terms), it's fairly dense and connected. There are a number of nice streetscapes, there as well. The arena and convention center are a big plus, too.

3. Flint - Still has some gems that survived urban renewal. During business hours there is a lot of pedestrian activity on Saginaw St. considering the number of vacant buildings spread out through the street. The good thing is that there are plans for the majority of those vacant buildings. What I don't like is the lack of density and foot traffic once you go a block east or west of Saginaw St.

I haven't been to Midland nor seen any pics (at least that I can remember). I wasn't sure if we were supposed to count smaller downtowns like Flushing, Clio, Frankenmuth, etc.

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Posted

I really like Flint's downtown. They have a good collection of buildings and like dnast said, there is some good activity downtown.

Saginaw people would just fall into the East side West Side argument debating at what is really downtown. The area where some of the taller buildings are is the real downtown, but lacks a lot of small business and restaurants and only has banks, federal buildings, and your typical office buildings. But Old Town saginaw on the west side has character, is very walkable, has some nice public areas, and historic architecture. It also is a lot safer because there is more actvity going on.

But as far as succesful downtowns, Bay City is doing real well. The new condo developments have brought a lot of activity into the city. Bay City is succesful because its neighborhoods have remained healthy and people stay in the city. There have been lots of renovations, and Bay City has not sprawled as much as the rest of Mid Michigan cities. Not to mention, the riverfront is awesome.

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Posted

I don't really have much to add since I don't know much about this region, but I always chuckle a little bit when I heard the Saginaw Bay area claim itself as Mid-Michigan while that's what Metropolitan Lansing calls itself with neither really geographically being "Mid-Michigan." lol

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Posted

From my point of view I would say Bay City is at the top,Flint #2, and Saginaw #3, but Flint's downtown has the most potential, with Um-Flint, it's metro, it's architecture, the dorms about to be built, and all the building being renovated which will add to in pedestrian and vehicle activity and encourage more development.

The one thing I hate about Downtown Flint is thre is to much traffic lights,so people go around it, if there wasn't so much traffic lights there would more people downtown.

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Posted

No, with no traffic lights people would simply whiz right through downtown. That's the problem with downtown Lansing, there are so many wide, one way streets that people use it as a way to cross the town. Stoplights make you stop and notice and creates a MUCH more pedestrian friendly downtown.

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Posted

Yeah the whole Mid Michigan thing is kind of confusing with the geography of the state. However, the tri-cites are just 30 miles from St. Louis - the middle of the mitten :lol:

saginaw_sign.jpg

BTW, there are ton of signs in Saginaw that have the mileage to Lansing too, which is kind of strange. Since I don't beleive there are any roads going directly between the two.

Here I'll post a few tri city downtowns

sagnasty.jpg

Beautiful building, but lame atmosphere.

boring.jpg

Boring.

blight.jpg

Renovate me! I'm on the water front! At least the deocration on top was restored last year.

eastgen.jpg

castlemu1.jpg

castlemu2.jpg

catholic%20church.jpg

library.jpg

cityhall.jpg

City Hall. The Mayor's son is a Detroit Piston for those who didn't know.

saginaw55.jpg

I can't forget the sewage plant.

saginaw56.jpg

That's East Sagnasty. Not so nasty becasue I showed you the good photos. I'll do oldtown and downtown Bay City tomorow.

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Posted

I found it funny that both areas of Michigan called themselves "Mid-Michigan", too. I'd gladly combine Lansing with our area.

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Posted

BTW, does Flint claim Shiawassee County, as well? I ask because I'm pretty sure they are including it in Lansing's CMSA population now. It doesn't make much sense to me at all, but I know the southwestern part of the county really considers Lansing as it's 'big city.'

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Posted

Yeah, Shiawassee (sp?....whatever) is not too far South from the city of Saginaw. It's weird to think there is only 1 county seperating Lansing and Saginaw

And I still haven't finished posting my downtowns yet.

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Posted

Nice pictures Wolverine, are those all from Saginaw?

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Posted

I guess you added those pics after I posted last night, or else I was really tired. Those look great!

LMich:

Flint includes Shiawassee and Lapeer Counties in "local" news and media, and these combine with the Tri-Cities for "Mid Michigan" as far as I can tell. It would be nice if Flint could ever get another county included in its CSA...

Zachariah:

I believe all of those are from Saginaw. I wish the city could get more than just one developer (Shaheen) interested in its downtown. There's lots of potential there.

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Posted

I'd have to go with Bay City as #1!

Saginaw, Flint, and Midland are tied. Poor Midland needs to identify itself more though...it's downtown, though nice, kind of just sits there.

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Posted

Saginaw has a very nice city hall, I wish Flint had something like that; anything would be better than that 1970s POS that is Flint's City Hall.... lol

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Posted

Guess I'm the old geezer on this forum, but growing up in the 60s, I remember the TriCity downtowns at the end of their former glory days.

Fashion Square Mall opened just in time for my high school friends and me to hang out in.

Downtown Saginaw is the most tragic of the three. Great buildings! Great history! I saw Mary Poppins at the Franklin Theater. Today it has the same sad ambiance as many other fading industrial cities ...

Bay City I will be checking out next week, when I come back to Michigan for my mother's heart cath ...

Midland has a boutique downtown, very cute, but nothing like what I remember as a kid. I stayed at the Ashman Court Hotel (where JC Penney's used to be) last year: I could not find a place on Main St. to buy razor Blades (Dot Discount is long gone, as are Kresge's and Woolworth's) but I found four places to get a latte!

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Posted

Bay City actually really surprised me last time I was there. I travelled to the mid MI area a lot last year for work and spent time in all three of these downtowns.

Flint was as expected.

Saginaw was a bit more urban than expected but the city really looks like it could use a boost.

Bay City while being somewhat run down has a hell of a historic area just outside of downtown and a nice clean downtown.

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