Welcome to our second round of our Strongest Town Competition. We invite you to view the photographs that representatives from these two towns have submitted to showcase their strength and resilience, and judge them based on Strong Towns principles. Please scroll down to the bottom to vote for the strongest!


Traverse City, MI

Entry submitted by: Rick Brown and Russ Soyring

For Traverse City, both land and water serve as base resources for community prosperity, as the city rests astride both the West and East Arms of Grand Traverse Bay. Combine these features with thousands of square miles of forests, rivers, lakes, hills, beaches, parks, preserves, farms, orchards, and vineyards, and you have the recipe for some of the most stunning vistas and view sheds you can find anywhere. (Photo by Russ Soyring)

Strong neighborhoods are the building blocks of Strong Towns. Traverse City is blessed with many strong neighborhoods such as the Central Neighborhood Historic District pictured above. (Photo by Rick Brown)

An active community is a strong (and healthy) community. In Traverse City, there are a blizzard options throughout the year, including the occasional chance to cross the frozen bay and explore ice caves and other unique wintry formations. (Photo by Russ Soyring)

The century old State Theatre on Front Street in downtown Traverse City is an excellent example of our residents coming together through the Traverse City Film Festival to lovingly preserve a local icon. Today, more than 125,000 people attend the film festival annually. Similar community-wide efforts have preserved the Opera House, the Bijou by the Bay Theater, and the Grand Traverse Commons (formerly the State Hospital). (Photo by Russ Soyring)

People are the the heart and soul of any community. In Traverse City, the level of public participation and civic engagement is unparalleled. The Envision Eighth Street Charrette process in 2016 was a thoughtful week-long community discussion on how best to address land use and transportation issues along one of the city’s primary east-west corridors. (Photo by Russ Soyring)


Ellsworth, ME

Entry submitted by: Cara Romano, Beth Fendl, Kirsten Henry, Leann Beal, Crystal Richards, Kristy Overlock, Phyllis Young, Paul Markosian, Teresa L. Sarget-Smith, Charles W. Birdsall III, Nathaniel Hanson, Elizabeth Trocki and Louie Luchini

Our town is actively working on a comprehensive green plan. This project, initiated by our cities Garden Club has enlisted community partners to join the project's steering committee. This committee is comprised of our City Planner, Director of our local land conservation trust, Director of our downtown revitalization group and a student from our local high school. We are working with a panel of students from a local college who have taken an acute interest in our cities green plan project. This class will assist our city in constructing a step-by-step plan of action for our community. The project will affect our cities urban core adding visual strength and long-term resilience to our community as we adapt to the ever increasing population and visitors to our city. (Photo Credit: Cara Romano)

This lower Main Street view, from the banks of the Union River, links our downtown community to smaller surrounding towns. The population of those communities may not live inside Ellsworth city lines, but they are very much part of our community. Ellsworth is Hancock’s county seat by which surrounding communities work, shop recreate and partake in city activities making Ellsworth greater than the sum of its parts.  (Photo Credit: Gerard Monteux)

City Hall is a symbol of our cities resilience as it was built after the great fire of 1920, destroying much of Ellsworth’s urban core. This building is the architectural crown jewel of our city, with ornately carved details that sit above the main entrance of the building. This building houses all city officials, police and fire departments. These are the people who keep our town running safe and efficiently; they are the backbone of our community. (Photo Credit: Gerard Monteux)

Ellsworth's modern day, Hometown Holiday Parade is our largest downtown yearly event, bringing together city residents and people from surrounding towns. With last year’s parade drawing over 800 people, it was the event's 32nd year running lead by resident Thelma Beal. This event kicks off the festive holiday shopping season for our downtown merchants featuring many floats from area businesses and nonprofits; even Santa makes an appearance. This event instills togetherness in our community allowing us to create a robust and reliable calendar of yearly events in our city. (Photo Credit: Cara Romano)

Ellsworth was built on the banks of the Union River. The waters constant flow serves as a visual reminder of our cities rich manufacturing history. In the mid-1800’s the city was home to brickyards, shipbuilders, and sawmills. Today, our downtown is returning to its roots by supporting creative individuals who are producing items on a small scale manufacturing basis. Artisans are working in metal, glass, clay, and textiles creating one of a kind or limited production goods. We are intentionally growing our downtown to support the strength of small businesses who produce handmade products; it is our hope that in years to come, visitors will identify Ellsworth as a destination for an authentic American downtown experience. (Photo Credit: Gerard Monteux)


Voting is closed.