Thursday, January 6, 2022

Northville officials mark year-long progress

In a recent report to residents, Northville city officials detailed the improvements made in the community during 2021.

“From new roads and water mains to LED lighting and expanded EV charging stations, there were impressive improvements made to the city infrastructure in 2021. Pair that with operational advances - such as a tree inventory, resetting water rates with GLWA for cost savings, and a crime dashboard for greater police transparency - and you can see that this city of 6,000 residents is riding a wave of progress,” the published report state.

City officials finalized and adopted the Historic District Study Report and the Master Plan update to three subareas. The first report added Ford Field to the Northville Historic District, which reflects the heritage of the site as a public gathering space. The second report - the updated Master Plan - guides development and redevelopment of new housing, commercial properties and public places, while retaining the historic character of the city. It addresses city life such as density, parking, and green space, and works in tandem with city ordinances, according to the report.

Three task forces submitted comprehensive reports to members of the Northville City Council on ways to enhance Ford Field and the Rouge river and tributaries, and presented plans for a new home for the Farmers' Market. 

Progress on development at Northville Downs included the presentation of a revised concept plan by Hunter Pasteur Homes. The new plan, presented to members of the planning commission, features parks, a daylighted river, and fewer housing units than the original site plan. A preliminary site plan - with revisions based on input from the planning commissioners, city officials, residents and others - was submitted to the city in mid-December and will be on the meeting agenda early this year.

In addition, planning commissioners conditionally approved the final site plan for the construction of a new three-story building at 456 E. Cady with 79 apartments and a first-floor commercial section anchored by a specialty market. The first steps will include the demolition of existing buildings and environmental clean-up.  

Residents have already begun moving into the luxury North 320 condos with front doors facing North Center. Eight units of the first building have been completed while work remains to be done on the sidewalk. A second eight-unit building faces the Randolph Drain.   

An old, one-story building was removed from the corner of Dunlap and Center to make way for the new two-story, luxury condominium building with a first-floor restaurant. The adjacent Tuscan Café moved into a new building next to the Marquis Theater on Main, opening another commercial space on North Center, officials said. 

In November, developers Andrew Daily, of Northville, and Alex de Parry, of Ann Arbor Builders, marked the start of construction of The Delano - six luxury condominiums and first-floor retail at 106 East Cady.                                                         

Other changes in 2021 included the installation of 270 LED light fixtures at the water tower, Northville Yards, and parking lots and structures. The cost savings, estimated at $34,000 annually, will be shared with the LED installer, nonprofit Energy Reduction Coalition, of Ann Arbor. 

While COVID-19 forced access to city hall to an appointment only status as staff members worked from home, 3,100 vaccines were administered to city and township residents during a vaccination clinic at Schoolcraft College. 

Officials, including new council members Andrew Krenz and John Carter along with Mayor Pro tem  Barbara Moroski-Browne approved an updated code of ordinances for construction sites. Mayor Brian Turnbull, who was unopposed for his second term, said the construction sites will be monitored regularly aby staff from the building department.  

Parks and Recreation Department staff moved into renovated offices and community space at Hillside Middle School, which finished years-long renovations. The new Hillside Recreation Center includes a newly-finished gym floor; new bathrooms near the gym; spacious, well-lit offices; a large activity room; a large parking lot and updated landscaping.  

In addition, Downtown Development Authority officials contracted with a Detroit firm to bring 10 new electric vehicle charging stations to the city at three locations.

Officials said that downtown streets that are part of the social district will remain closed to traffic until Nov. 7, this year to study the second-year impact on businesses, residents and others as the effects of COVID-19 fluctuates.