CDBG funds are targeted for Allen Terrace
Posted on 02/18/2021
City Hall

City Council recap of Feb. 15 meeting

Public hearing on block grant –
Allen Terrace Director Tracey Emmanuel appeared before City Council to request approval to apply for Community Development Block Grant funds from Oakland County. She recommended using the approximately $7,000 to replace some of the original interior doors in apartments at Allen Terrace senior apartments. During the public hearing, Brenda Moragne, of Haven, a non-profit in Oakland County, requested funding to support Haven’s programs, which include assistance for those impacted by domestic violence. However, City Council approved the initial plan to make capital improvements at Allen Terrace and thereby enhance the living conditions for residents.

Parking spaces at new mixed-use building at 345 Cady –
Council approved a Planning Commission recommendation to keep the number of parking spaces at the new three-story building at 41 rather than requiring two more spaces to accommodate “restaurant” usage. The project was originally approved in 2019 for three retail units on the ground floor, and offices on the second and third floors. Owner Mick Grewal changed the configuration to have one larger retail space on the first floor for his wife’s boutique and a family-run café. There are 33 on-site parking spaces, and City Council previously approved the sale of eight parking credits to meet the required 41 parking spaces.

City to conduct first tree inventory –
Davey Resources Group, of Ohio, gained Council approval to conduct a tree inventory that would help the City manage its “urban forest.” The total cost of approximately $13,950 will be offset by a $8,350 grant from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR). Davey was instrumental in obtaining the grant and has vast experience conducting tree inventories for communities throughout Michigan, including Ferndale, Frankenmuth and Petoskey. When completed, the inventory data will become an overlay on the City’s GIS system and will be used to determine which type of tree species to plant, where to plant them, and when to replace those that are invasive or simply aren’t thriving at their present location.

Reallocation of funds for parks improvement –
City Council reallocated $100,000 of the Public Improvement Fund for Ford Field, along with a $25,000 committed grant match to the following projects: $50,000 for Fort Griswold play structure at Ford Field (the City has already committed $175,000 and Parks and Recreation will raise $200,000 to cover the full $400,000 cost), $60,000 for Fish Hatchery parking lot, $15,000 for Fish Hatchery pavilion replacement (Northville Township will pay the same amounts, respectively, since the park is a shared resource), and $50,000 for the Fish Hatchery play structure (with the balance of this FY 2023 project coming from the Township and a grant.)

Resolution approved to hike fees for use of City sidewalks and streets –
Council approved fee increases recommended by the Downtown Development Authority (DDA) for downtown business usage of sidewalks and streets that expand the footprint of restaurants and retailers. The increased Outdoor Dining and Outdoor Retail fees will help recoup costs for maintaining the Social District, such as more frequent clearing of trash bins, managing and promoting the program, and higher utility costs. Among the new fees assessed to each business based on their outdoor square footage use for an 8-month period: outdoor dining with no alcohol service increases from 85¢ to $1, outdoor dining with alcohol service rises from $1.25 to $1.50, permanent structures on City property expands from $1.85 to $2, and a new retail merchandising and sales fee is set at $1.

Staff communications –
City Manager Pat Sullivan said the overnight parking credit moratorium will expire as scheduled on Feb. 21. In tandem, the Council-appointed Parking Study Committee that focuses on how downtown residential development will impact the City’s parking system has been suspended since reduced traffic caused by COVID-19 makes this an inappropriate time to study the long-term need.

The mayor requested that each Council member who serves on a Task Force provide an update.

Rouge Restoration Task Force –
Member Barbara Moroski-Browne said members are learning about grants through webinars and one members has done some GIS modeling of the river and will provide a LOMAR update (concerning flood regions) at the next meeting. As part of the update, DPW Director Loyd Cureton provided news about a potential $40,000 State grant to fund a study of daylighting the river from the Beal Street bridge to 7 Mile, approximately 1,100 linear feet. The Alliance of Rouge Communities (ARC) would be the applicant.

Farmers’ Market Task Force –
Member Marilyn Price noted that Jody Humphries, Chamber executive director, gave a presentation at their last meeting that clarified the structure of the market, stating that the City serves as a host to the market that is managed by the Chamber. Humphries welcomed the task force involvement into finding a new location within the City.

Ford Field Task Force –
Member Patrick Giesa said the task force is reviewing tranquil landscapes and seeking a better connection to downtown.

Sustainability Team –
Kathy Spillane, of 487 W. Cady, provided an update at the request of Council Member Giesa. She said the group is planning to conduct a walkability safety study and is considering a green ordinance audit, a concept that the group recently presented to the Planning Commission.

Council communications –
Mayor Turnbull said an additional supply of vaccines are coming and citizens can call 211 to speak with a State employee about where to sign up for a vaccination. He met by Zoom with the chairs of all the 27 City committees to learn about their concerns and action items. He also sponsored a joint leadership meeting with the heads of the task forces to coordinate fundraising and capital improvements.

View video here.