Networks Northwest

Honor Area Restoration Project (HARP)

The Honor Area Restoration Project is local residents seeking to return prosperity to the village of Honor and its surrounding areas.

The Honor Area Restoration Project, or HARP, is a private nonprofit organization formed by local residents to return prosperity to the village of Honor and its surrounding areas. HARP’s mission is three-fold: preserve history and protect local resources; encourage informed growth and development; and promote fiscal, recreational, and educational initiatives that benefit citizens of all ages. Since 2010, HARP has organized an “Envision Honor” community visioning exercise and has received grants to support the development of a plan and implementation strategy for restoring Honor.

Shantel Seller, a native of Honor, returned to her hometown after spending some time away, and found that it no longer had the strength and activity that she remembered. In an effort to do her part to restore Honor, she renovated her childhood home in the downtown. This was a notable improvement to the community, but it was not enough. Shantel realized that it would take the involvement of the entire community to better the area. In 2010, Shantel organized a group of people, mostly family and friends, to discuss how to restore Honor.

From an initial conversation with a small group of family and friends came a formal nonprofit organization that has engaged hundreds of citizens, dozens of businesses, and area local governments for the betterment of the Honor area. Two organizations helped to formalize citizens’ efforts into a tax-deductible nonprofit: The Alliance for Economic Success facilitated community conversations and helped formulate the organizational structure and NorthSky Nonprofit Network assisted the then citizen group through the process of forming the nonprofit, HARP. The organization, in partnership with the Village government, has received grants from Rotary Charities of Traverse City, U.S. Department of Agriculture-Rural Development, and Northwest Michigan Council of Governments to further their vision and create an actionable plan for restoration of the Honor area.

HARP now meets monthly and maintains three committees—the Garden Club, Historical Society, and Fall Festival Committee. All business is conducted in the manner of HARP’s five core values: positive approach, nonpolitical, volunteer-based, community-driven, and complete transparency. As Ingemar Johansson, president of HARP, explains, “Everyone is a part of the process and everyone’s opinion is equal.”

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