July 22, 2024 Donate

Milan, Saline

Tolan Square Remodel Project Completed in Milan

Milan’s new outdoor event venue is ready to host year-round events downtown.

By Doug Marrin

Milan is set to unveil its newly remodeled Tolan Square, marking a significant milestone in community development. The outdoor event venue, spearheaded by local nonprofit Moving Milan Forward in collaboration with the City of Milan, will be officially dedicated on Thursday, July 18th, during the 3rd Thursday event at 6 PM.

Historical Significance

Tolan Square, named after Henry Tolan, the city’s former pharmacist and postmaster, has been a central part of Milan’s history since 1836 when the town was initially named Tolanville. The area, previously known as Tolan Street, became a community focal point in 2015 when it was temporarily closed to create a gathering space.

Project Details and Improvements

The remodel project has transformed Tolan Square into a more accessible and vibrant space. Key features include:

  • Removal of curbs and leveling of the area for improved accessibility
  • Addition of three large planters for greenery
  • Installation of new downward-facing streetlights for better visibility
  • Underground electric lines for powering events
  • Sprinkler and stormwater lines for maintenance and drainage

Mayor Ed Kolar expressed his enthusiasm for the project, stating, “With summer in full swing, the completion of the new Tolan Square has the city buzzing. The square looks tremendous, and the downtown continues to evolve into a true gem for us all to enjoy.”

Community Support and Funding

Initially budgeted at $140,000, the project expanded to over $264,000 due to increased costs. It was made possible through contributions from various sources, including the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), the Greater Milan Area Community Fund (GMACF), the Community Foundation of Monroe, local businesses, and hundreds of Milan residents.

City Council Member Dave Snyder highlighted the community’s involvement: “The Milan community recognized that it needed a downtown meeting space and a town square for meeting friends and hosting community events. The contributions of more than 200 residents and friends of Milan and the energy of Moving Milan Forward made this space possible.”

Honoring Community Pillars

The remodeled square will also serve as a place to honor three significant community figures:

  • Millard Phillips: City Leader, Long-time Businessman, GMACF Co-Founder
  • Isabelle Schultz: Journalist, GMACF Co-Founder
  • Don Harkness: Philanthropist, GMACF Co-Founder

Large bricks and bronze plaques commemorating these individuals will be unveiled at the July 18th event. Milan Historian Martha Churchill noted, “Millard Phillips, Isabelle Schultz, and Don Harkness laid the groundwork for the fantastic town we have today.”

Upcoming Dedication Ceremony

The dedication ceremony on July 18th will celebrate the remodel’s completion and honor the legacies of Phillips, Schultz, and Harkness. Those interested can find more information about the event at MilanEvents.org.

Zach Errer, President of Moving Milan Forward, expressed his excitement about the project’s completion: “We are thrilled to see the completion of Tolan Square. It’s a project that embodies the spirit and unity of our community. This transformation honors our rich history and creates a vibrant and accessible space for all residents to enjoy.”

Join the Effort

Moving Milan Forward stresses that the community’s involvement is crucial for the continued success of Tolan Square. Financial contributions can still be made by contacting Dave Snyder at 810-423-1098 or email at dwsnyder@live.com. Supporters are also encouraged to attend events in downtown Milan or follow Moving Milan Forward on Facebook for updates on future projects.