Roger Brooks, the man whose firm was tasked with facilitating Michigan City's branding effort, gave a vibrant, energetic presentation Friday morning at City Hall to a standing-room only crowd filled with citizens, community stakeholders, politicians and other interested parties.

The result was pretty on point with what I thought it would be. All the signs were there. Michigan City has been driving in a direction for a while now, all that needed to happen was for that ongoing effort to be acknowledged, embraced and implemented.

Create. Play. Repeat.

Three simple words that capture the spirit of Michigan City pretty well. The emergence in recent years of the Uptown Arts District in downtown Michigan City hammers home the "create" part. This part of Franklin Street, which contains the office I sit in to pen this column, has been filling with artisans for a while now. The renovation of the Warren Building by ArtSpace will only further cement Michigan City's reputation in the arts community.

The "play" part is easy. Our gorgeous lakefront in concert with Blue Chip Casino - a top-notch entertainment destination — work splendidly with great local bars, restaurants, breweries, wineries and more.

Of course, the goal is that people so enjoy the "create" and "play" aspects of Michigan City that they "repeat" them over and over.

There's a nice new logo, too. But, as Brooks correctly points out, that logo and the slogan are only a very, very small part of the overall package.

For this to work — really work — in Michigan City, it will take a relentless effort from the citizenry to champion what Michigan City is about.

The great news is, none of this is new. It's just time to take it to the next level. We need to go all the way.

Connecting the downtown to Blue Chip, the lakefront and outlet mall will create an overall feel of endless entertainment options. The proposed plaza for downtown can be a year-round entertainment destination for both citizens and visitors — something to be proud of, even.

Brooks points out that there will be those among us who aren't on board with the effort. They'll say it can't be done or shouldn't be done.

Well, they're wrong. This is the future of Michigan City. Want a city budget that isn't reliant on casino dollars? Well, we need to increase the tax base. You do that through making Michigan City an even cooler place to live, work and play. Businesses will want to come here and people will want to live here.

That doesn't mean we can't have lively debates on the topic. Discussion is always important, especially when it comes to public works projects. But it's time for the people of Michigan City to go all-in.

Judging by the overflow crowd at City Hall on Friday, the tide is already turning and people are getting behind this.

The time for self-loathing is over. The future of our town is at stake now. Let's do this.

Contact Managing Editor Adam Parkhouse at aparkhouse@thenewsdispatch.com or 1-219-214-4170.

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