Hart selected as finalist for statewide competition.

April 21, 2022

Hart selected as finalist for statewide competition.

Gigantic tin man holding heart to be installed downtown.

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HART — The Consumers Energy Foundation and the Community Economic Development Association of Michigan (CEDAM) selected the City of Hart as one of the 10 finalists for the Put Your Town on the Map pitch competition. 

The contest provides funds for projects that aim to help small communities in Michigan grow and thrive.  

After seeking input from the community, an initiative formed in Hart called The Hart Project aimed at “putting the art in Hart.” The group’s top goal is to place 25 public art installments in Hart by the year 2025. The group plans to kick things off by commissioning Bill Secunda, a five-time Art Prize artist/sculptor, to build a 24-foot-tall tin man sculpture holding a huge heart that will be installed downtown.   

As one of the 10 finalists, the City of Hart will next present the idea at the Small Town and Rural Development Conference in May. A panel of judges will select the top three winners who will receive grants worth $25,000, $15,000, and $10,000, respectively. 

“We received a number of bold and innovative ideas this year for the Put Your Town on the Map contest that will really help Michigan’s small communities grow and thrive,” said Roger Curtis, vice president of public affairs for Consumers Energy. “It’s these kinds of ideas that will continue to make our state such a wonderful place to live, work, and play. I’m looking forward to having these 10 finalists present their ideas, and the three winners be announced.” 

“Many travel to this area to experience the Silver Lake Sand Dunes. A sculpture of this scale gives visitors a reason to turn east to discover Hart’s charming downtown,” said Nichole Kleiner, Hart’s economic and community development director. “The impact will strengthen our shops, restaurants, and downtown district overall. If Hart can become known as a vibrant art community, we believe it will attract new businesses and residents who are looking for a community that embraces creativity, diversity, and new ideas.” 

The Put Your Town on the Map competition aims to reward original ideas that attract visitors to downtowns; focus on housing, education or employment; and create community pride.  

Consumers Energy started the competition in 2019. In 2021, grants were awarded to Comins Township in Oscoda County to support a public square for events and tourism promotion; Pinckney in Livingston County to build an accessible community garden; and Alma in Gratiot County to create an art corridor in the downtown area. 

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