| 3 min read | by Doug Marrin, from Mayor Shawn Keough |
Dexter’s Mayor Shawn Keough submitted his report to the city council at their Feb. 10, 2020 meeting.
Recent Activities since the January 27, 2020 City Council meeting
January 29, 2020 – Facility Workshop with Norfolk Development regarding potential City office location at 3045 Broad Street – at this workshop Council, staff and members of the public were able to view concept plans for potential City space in a potential new building at Broad & Forest.
Norfolk originally proposed this new building as part of our 3045 Broad public workshops. City space at this location could include City offices, possible room for our Sheriff and Senior Center/Youth Center shared space. Norfolk will be preparing more detailed floor plans to verify the preliminary space meets the programming needs of these three potential uses.
This building would be mixed use and have additional retail on the first floor, office space on the second floor and residential condominiums or apartments on the third floor. I am very excited about this potential option for creating a shared public space for our seniors and youth. Council will be discussing this in more detail at a future work session.
On the consent agenda, Council will see two appointment recommendations for Council affirmation. I am recommending Ray Tell to fill the election commission vacancy. I am also recommending Abby Briggs to fill the vacancy on the Arts, Culture and Heritage Committee. I need to schedule meetings to complete interviews with applicants for the open Economic Development Corporation vacancy and the Downtown Development Authority vacancy.
Proposed Avalon/Faith in Action Housing and Potential Ballot Questions (Same as my previous report)
As I am sure Council and residents are aware, there has been a lot of discussion, comments and questions on social media and in the papers related to the proposed affordable/supportive housing project on Dan Hoey.
The most recent concerns by the group in opposition to the Avalon/Faith in Action project are now aimed at whether or not public property should be sold without a vote of the public. It is interesting to me that this petition is conveniently proposed as a mechanism that could potentially stop this development, yet it is presented in a manner that would increase transparency. It doesn’t include any language related to the purchase of property.
As I understand it, the petition that is currently being circulated would propose a Charter Amendment that would require the City to seek a vote of the people prior to the sale of any city property. I would like all citizens and interested community members to know that the Village and City cannot currently sell land that has been designated as a public park without approval by eligible voters in the City. That requirement is a current Charter requirement that was approved by the voters when residents of the Village approved the Charter as part of the City’s Incorporation process in November 2014.
As additional background, the Village/City has bought and sold property for many important projects over the years. Buying and selling property is a common decision for most municipalities to do (through their elected Councils) as opportunities present themselves. In most cases, these opportunities are identified through public input sessions and public discussions and they often relate to creating something positive for the City.
There are several recent examples of where that has been done here in the Village/City over the past 15 to 20 years. Several properties were purchased/acquired in approximately 2008 to help create Mill Creek Park. The City has also bought property on Huron Street near our Wastewater Treatment Plant and along Broad street to remove failing deteriorated housing structures.
The first example of a sale of property is the property where the Monument Park building (large building next to Dairy Queen) is currently located. That was once public property owned by the Village/DDA. I believe it was previously a gas station before it was acquired by the Village/DDA to find a better use. It served as a temporary gravel parking lot and was then sold in 2004 to create the development that now includes Aubrees restaurant.
A portion of the property currently used for the new condominium project at 150 Jeffords across from Mill Creek Park was also previously owned by the City. It was sold over 10 years ago to help create the parcel for what is now the 150 Jeffords project. Both of those land sales were completed with the goal of helping the Village/City/DDA grow and add building uses within the frameworks of the Village/City Master Plan or DDA Framework plan. The City also has a current sale of property pending.
A couple years ago, the City swapped a portion of our Dan Hoey property with Detroit Edison so that the substation downtown on Broad street could be removed (and potentially relocated if the need arises in the future). This sale is still technically pending until DTE removes the substation and the property is ready to be turned over to the City.
I wanted to share this information because it illustrates that the Village/City/DDA has sold public property in the recent past. In my opinion, all of these projects have been contributed positively to our downtown. From my experience, I believe that the petition that is being circulated (and ultimately the proposed charter amendment) is not necessary and would not be in the best interest of the City/DDA.
I welcome all questions on this topic and would be happy to speak to anyone to help get them answers to their questions, comments or concerns. Please feel free to call me on my cell number or email me at the contact information shown below if you would like to discuss this topic or anything related to it. I continue to feel that the Avalon/Faith in Action project is good for the City of Dexter and our community.