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      City of Manistique a finalist for $25,000 cash prize

      The city of Manistique is in the running to win big money. Theyâ??re a finalist in the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Roadmaps to Health Prize Competition.

      Monday, key city facilities hosted on-site tours with members of the prize team. The Roadmaps to Health Prize honors the achievements of communities across the nation who are working towards population health improvement.

      The first on-site stop was at the health department. Officials discussed the unique challenges of being short-staffed in a community that's seen its share of economic challenges.

      â??I hope that we're seen as a model,â?? explains Kerry Ott, Community Coordinator for the Sault Tribe Strategic Alliance for Health Project. â??Even if you're small in resources, there's still a lot this community can do if everyone works together to create healthier environments for everybody."

      Last June, Alliance officials submitted an essay to be considered.

      Out of the 11 community finalists, six of them will be selected as the $25,000 cash prize recipient in January 2013. Prize officials got a first-hand look at the community and its needs by visiting sites like a senior facility and later Emerald Elementary.

      If the community impresses the committee and wins, the prize money would be put into the Non-Motorized Transportation Fund.

      â??Oh my gosh, it could do wonders for some of the things this group wants to do," says Sheila Aldrich, Manistique City Manager.

      Improvements would be made to sidewalks and expanding access for walking and biking.

      â??For the community, it's not just about the money, it's about the presence, the sense of pride that it gives us. And it shows Michigan that we're leading by example," Aldrich adds.

      The money would be used to match grant money for these projects that would improve the health of residents and the community.