Plans commence for county’s 200th birthday celebration

By: Julie Snyder | Mount Clemens - Clinton - Harrison Journal | Published April 5, 2017

MACOMB COUNTY — Macomb County was born on Jan. 15, 1818, to become the third county in Michigan. Today it is known for its 17,000 acres of parks and recreational areas, its dynamic workforce, the eclectic downtowns within its 27 communities, and the 32 miles of Lake St. Clair shoreline and 81 miles of the Clinton River that lie within.

But there is much, much more to Macomb County, local leaders say, and those many unique aspects will each be celebrated next year when it hits its bicentennial.

On March 23, more than 40 county-based community, advocacy and business leaders met at the Administration Building in Mount Clemens for the first meeting of the Macomb County Bicentennial Advisory Council, a group led by Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel and Deputy County Executive Pam Lavers that will focus on coordinating and initiating festivities dedicated to various 200th birthday events in 2018.

“We’re hoping to turn the entire year into one big celebration,” said Lavers. “We’ll celebrate our past, future and our present.”

A variety of themes were discussed at the meeting, including recreation, agriculture, manufacturing, the notable people of Macomb County — such as Alexander Macomb Jr., the war hero who the county is named after — transportation trends over the past 200 years, arts and culture, churches, local street and road names, education, historical homes and sites, military, and lakeside living.

Public Works Commissioner Candice Miller said that when many people think about Macomb County, one of the first images is of its proximity to the two major waterways.

“We should consider the Blue Economy initiative,” she said, adding that Lake St. Clair and the Clinton River have helped boost the local economy over the years.

Hackel, a lifelong resident of Macomb County, added that Mount Clemens, the county seat, is also celebrating its 200th birthday in 2018, which means many of the events and celebrations planned could coincide with one another. Clinton Township is also marking its 200th birthday next year.

Lavers said the goal will be to host small celebrations throughout the year, as well as a few larger ones.

Other ideas tossed around at the meeting included a torch relay, family picnics, a birthday cake celebration, re-enactments, creating a logo, a recognition ceremony for local veterans, art contests involving local school children, street parties and even fancy galas.

The group is also considering putting together an event calendar as well as a website to help promote events throughout the year.

The Macomb County Bicentennial Advisory Council plans to meet once a month.