Residents of Michigan City have a lot to love about their community. One resident, Michael Gresham, has taken it upon himself to bring that dedication to new levels, creating his own forum at www.CityByTheLake.org and a Facebook page by the same name at https://www.facebook.com/citybythelake.org/. This Facebook page has become a hub of conversation for the community as social media has taken on a greater popularity.
For any resident of Michigan City looking to keep up with local events like proposed laws, such as the recently proposed drainage fee, or to keep up with news happening in the area, it is a great resource to stay up to date and keep engaged with the community. It is also a nice place to see inspiring and interesting pictures of Michigan City, all from the comfort of your own home. This sense of community engagement is something that is important to Gresham.
“I created the page as a website almost 11 years ago now. I had been involved in message boarding ever since it became a thing while I was in college at Manchester. I had a pretty good view of what these kinds of groups could do in terms of building community and bases of knowledge around a group of a people with a related interest,” said Gresham about the site he has seen grow exponentially over the years.
The city of Michigan City has a population of 31,000, and La Porte County as a whole is just over 110,000, so the fact that the Facebook page for City by the Lake has a following nearing 10,000 is a pretty impressive feat, and one that is not lost on Gresham.
“In 2007, when I created City by the Lake, there was nothing like it in terms of virtual places to go to discuss and learn about Michigan City that weren't traditional media outlets. Even I have been shocked to see the reaction to the page over the years. In a town of 30,000 people, I could have never imagined that its following on Facebook alone would be approaching 10,000,” said Gresham of the popularity of his page.
Many on the page, even those who have moved away, are active on the page and keep abreast of news from the town. Gresham is dedicated to contributing to and maintaining the hub he has created for the community.
“Michigan City is my hometown. I was born and raised here with only a few years spent in other places over my lifetime. I spent about 15 years commuting to Chicago, so I have been exposed to other places and cultures. All that said, there is nothing like my hometown. Growing up, I had all the typical teenage angst about wanting to get out of this place and finding somewhere that didn't suck to go to. Well, as a I got through college and into my career and started to see what the outside world looked like, I really began to appreciate how special Michigan City was,” said Gresham of the changes in his mindset over the years.
This appreciation for Michigan City has led to an active community hub that continues to grow. Whether it is high school sports, news, events or just feel good scenery of Michigan City’s beautiful lakefront, City by the Lake is certainly an excellent place to feel connected to the community and make your own contributions as well.
“As I have gotten deeper into adulthood that has moved past appreciation and into an active state of mind of wanting to improve City and do what I can to make it a destination for all. Today, I can't imagine myself being anywhere else,” said Gresham about his hometown.