November 6, 2002
Macomb settles into $6.6 million hall
Township site to anchor future
TOWNSHIP -- Tom Roosen had trouble finding
the drop box for his absentee ballot at the
Macomb Township hall, but he had no
difficulty finding the new building.
Ice hockey complex moves ahead
Macomb Township reaches agreement with rink developers
MACOMB TOWNSHIP — Macomb Township has worked out a deal with a Farmington Hills developer that will allow the firm to break ground for construction of a dual ice hockey rink complex in Michigan’s fastest-growing community.
The agreement is the result of a lawsuit Suburban Hockey filed in Macomb County Circuit Court against the township because officials would not approve the last phase of a land deal where the rinks are going to be built.
Township officials say a technicality in an ordinance prevented them from approving the final piece of the deal. But after the lawsuit was filed, township trustees agreed to proceed through a quick phone poll, Macomb Township Supervisor John D. Brennan said.
The consent judgment was approved Wednesday by Macomb Circuit Judge James Biernat.
Suburban Hockey had purchased 7.9 acres on Broughton, south of 25 Mile, from the township for about $480,000. But when company officials attempted to legally divide the property from the main piece owned by the township, the township refused.
The township ordinance prevented dividing property — calling a division — because Broughton had not been officially named a public road, said Robert Kirk, attorney for Suburban Hockey.
“It was just a technicality,” Kirk said.
Broughton will soon be named a public road but that wasn’t quick enough for Suburban Hockey, so it filed the lawsuit to get the deal done quickly.
Suburban Hockey wanted the arrangement expedited by Friday so it could get financing for the hockey complex, Brennan said.
“And they couldn’t get the financing unless they got the split (property divisions),” Brennan said. “They didn’t own the property until they got the property split. It was a Catch-22 thing.”
“They want to have the ice arena built by next August,” and that was the urgency for the property split, Kirk said.
Kirk said the Suburban Hockey ice rink complex will be similar to the Mount Clemens skating complex. Mount Clemens has two ice rinks at the Groesbeck location with a physical fitness club above the rinks.
“It’s great,” Brennan said. “They will have two sheets of ice, expandable to three. Everyone is exited about it.”
You can reach Gene Schabath at (586) 468-3614
Thursday, October 7, 2004
Town center starts to bloom
Macomb Township ready for phase two
MACOMB TOWNSHIP — The next phase in the creation of downtown Macomb Township — pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods with an urban feel — is fast approaching.
Developers have received preliminary approval from the Board of Trustees for hundreds of homes to be built around the new Township Hall and Recreation Center at 25 Mile and Broughton, which township officials have identified as a town center.
The entire one-square-mile development is being built on former farmland bounded by 24 Mile and 25 Mile and Luchtman and Broughton.
Macomb Township resident Ann Cioletti, who lives about a mile from the proposed development, is excited about the project. She is particularly interested in the private ice rink to be built next to the recreation center.
“I think it’s great ... especially with them putting in an ice rink. Right now I am driving to Troy,” said Cioletti, 34, a special education aide. “It’s so hard to believe ... (the township) it’s growing so fast.”
Unlike many other residential and commercial developments in the rapidly growing township, the Town Center will incorporate components of the “new urbanism” approach to planning that is akin to the old downtowns and neighborhoods of pre-World War II communities.
“There is a lot of interest” in the development, which includes government, residential and commercial uses, Macomb Township Clerk Michael Koehs said. “People have been calling faithfully for the last two years.”
Three residential developers are in the second of a three-step process to obtain site plan approval from the township. That approval is needed before land can be cleared and construction can begin.
Developers Polaris Enterprises of Sylvan Lake, Lombardo Companies of Washington Township and Antonio Evangelista of Sterling Heights are proposing residential developments next to the Township Hall and Recreation Center. Both the township hall and rec center opened in the last two years.
The new homes will keep Macomb Township on its current path of rapid growth. The Southeast Michigan Council of Governments estimates the township’s current population at 68,592 residents, a big boost from the 2000 U.S. Census, when 50,478 lived in the community.
The most recent approval from the Township Board came for Polaris, which is proposing nearly 600 homes on the north side of 24 Mile, east of Luchtman.
The three developments aim to create an urban neighborhood in a suburban community with small lots and clustered buildings, and first-floor offices next to grocery stores with condominiums atop them.
The “new urbanism” theme will be applied to homes in the form of front porches instead of decks, detached garages and an emphasis on front yards. The homes are intended to be within a five-minute walk of the new township hall.
The homes will borrow architectural styles from Victorian, Greek revial and Gothic homes built in Macomb County from the 1820s to the 1920s.
When completed, the entire project is projected to have 2,500 homes and offices. Prices for the homes, lofts, apartments and condos will range from $190,000 to $500,000.
Planners also included more than 10 parks to be located throughout the development.
As township officials receive a number of inquiries from prospective residents, real estate agents also have jumped on board to increase the visibility of the project.
REALTOR® Dave Elya has developed a Web site, www.macombtowncenter.com, that includes information about the project, links to articles written about it and links to his office.
“(The Web site) has had a lot of traffic” from homebuyers who are interested in the Macomb Township development, Elya said. “They want to be part of the action.”
This type of development is not unique to Macomb Township. Cherry Hill Village in Wayne County’s Canton Township is a nearly $500 million development that also features old-style neighborhoods, retail and community theater.
You can reach Edward L. Cardenas at (586) 468-0529
Friday, October 21, 2005
Busy fitness center to expand
Macomb Twp. facility's popularity soars as thousands join
MACOMB TOWNSHIP -- Jasper Sciuto was one of the first Macomb Township residents to buy a membership at the township's year-old, state-of-the-art recreation center.
The Oakland University student heads to the center about five days a week to lift weights, run on the track and swim laps.
As the number of paid members has grown into the thousands, township officials have embarked on plans to nearly double the size of the facility by spring 2007, providing more offerings to both residents and nonresidents in growing northern Macomb County.
"It's closer and cheaper (than other gyms) and the equipment is really nice," said Sciuto, 20, who schedules his workouts for times the center is less crowded. "It's like your own personal gym."
Elected officials have approved the sale of $10 million in bonds to finance an expansion of the popular recreation center, which is next to the Macomb Township Hall in the middle of a one-square mile area of the township dubbed "Town Center."
The expansion comes just a little more than a year after the original 57,000-square-foot facility opened to the public.
Creation of the Town Center, a downtown-style development with a mix of residential, commercial and public uses, began with the construction of the township hall and recreation center in the 25 Mile and Broughton area.
The first private development opened in August with a two-rink ice arena, and two of the four residential projects have been approved.
"The residents have taken so well to it," said Sal DiCaro, parks and recreation director, who has seen growth in the daily visits and memberships to the center. "We are trying to meet the needs of the future before it gets here."
That's good news to Macomb Township resident Kim Meehan, whose family is considering buying a home in the new development.
She likes the idea of recreation, homes and businesses all within walking distance of neighborhoods.
"That's what I could go for -- more of a small-town feel," she said.
Construction is expected to start on the 40,000-square-foot recreation center addition in May, and take about a year.
Among the amenities will be a second gymnasium, a larger running track and more workout space.
Resident Rosa Armenta supports the idea of adding space to the facility.
"It is really busy," said Armenta, 27. "I like that they have areas for big kids to play and areas for little kids."
There also will be multi-purpose rooms and a larger party room, both of which have been heavily used in the current center. DiCaro said there were 565 rentals of the party room last year, with four to five parties daily on the weekend.
"The party room has been an enormous success," DiCaro said.
Its membership stands at 4,000 people, about 200 of whom are nonresidents.
Once the expansion is complete in May 2007, work will begin developing the remaining 56 acres of Macomb Corners Park on the north side of 25 Mile.
DiCaro said plans call for four new baseball diamonds, two soccer fields and a walking path.
You can reach Edward L. Cardenas at (586) 468-0529