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Randy Mielnik, Peninsula Township Planning Director | Jane Boursaw Photo
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At tonight’s meeting of the Peninsula Township Board, the Board interviewed five candidates for the position of Township Planning Director. Following the interviews and a discussion, the Board voted unanimously to hire Randy Mielnik as the new Peninsula Township Planning Director.

Mielnik, who was also one of the final candidates during the Township’s search for a new Planner in 2016, holds a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Geography/Planning from Northern Michigan University and a Master’s Degree in City and Regional Planning from Ohio State University. His 30-plus years of experience includes working as a planning director, public sector planner and private consultant.

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Mielnik, who now lives in Williamsburg, Michigan, spent six years as the Planning Director for Licking County, Ohio, and since 1992 has worked as a Planning Consultant with Poggemeyer Design Group in Monroe, Michigan. He’s a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) and is also a LEED Accredited Professional (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design).

While his experience covers most areas of planning, Mielnik says he’s always been most attracted to planning projects that involve rural and environmental issues.

“My wife and I made the deliberate decision to live in the area some time ago,” he writes in a letter to the Township Board, “and I fully appreciate the beautiful natural landscapes, rural character and the need to be good stewards of phenomenal natural resources. Old Mission Peninsula is an extraordinary place and one of Michigan’s gems. I know that protecting highly desirable places requires a delicate balance between property rights and regulatory actions driven by public support.”

Mielnik says he’s helped communities grapple with strong growth pressures similar to those faced on the Old Mission Peninsula, and he’s familiar with the associated challenges. “These challenges motivate me, especially when combined with the opportunity to work with creative and forward-thinking community leaders who recognize the significance of planning decisions.”

He adds, “I know I can help Peninsula Township build consensus around key issues and help create an ambitious, yet achievable long-term vision. “I am a firm believer in making sure that extensive citizen engagement and consensus-building is the foundation of a master plan … I am especially motivated by the opportunity to help community leaders define the future of Peninsula Township and meet the challenges that certainly lie ahead.”

A NOTE FROM JANE: I started Old Mission Gazette in 2015 because I felt a calling to provide the Old Mission Peninsula community with local news. After decades of writing for newspapers and magazines like the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Family Circle and Ladies' Home Journal, I really just wanted to write about my own community where I grew up on a cherry farm and raised my own family. So I started my own newspaper.

Because Old Mission Gazette is a "Reader Supported Newspaper" -- meaning it exists because of your financial support -- I hope you'll consider tossing a few bucks our way if I mention your event, your business, your organization or your news item, or if you simply love reading about what's happening on the OMP. In a time when local news is becoming a thing of the past, supporting an independent community newspaper is more important now than ever.

To keep the Gazette going, click here to make a donation. Thank you so much for your support. -jb

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