2013 sees economic growth

By: Linda Shepard | Rochester Post | Published January 1, 2014

 Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine student Andrew Coo shows visitors a demonstration table in the new Hannah Hall anatomy laboratory Aug. 5.

Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine student Andrew Coo shows visitors a demonstration table in the new Hannah Hall anatomy laboratory Aug. 5.

File photo by Donna Agusti

New construction signals a healthy economy for Rochester, Rochester Hills and Oakland Township in 2013. A luxury development of homes priced between $1 million and $4 million broke ground in Oakland Township, and high-end apartments are planned for sites in Rochester and Rochester Hills, aiming for high walkability.

A Tienken Road widening project began east of Rochester Road, closing the road to all traffic for several months. A new community garden opened in Rochester Hills, a new nature center opened in Oakland Township and a kayak locker opened on the Clinton River in Rochester. Here’s a look at the top stories in Rochester, Rochester Hills and Oakland Township in 2013.

Tienken Road widening begins
Tienken Road east of Rochester Road closed to all traffic between June and November during a Rochester Hills road-widening project. The construction is part of a larger Tienken widening project scheduled to begin next spring that will widen Tienken west of Rochester Road to Livernois and will include a roundabout at Livernois.

The $10 million project is paid for with a combination of federal, state and county funds.

Community garden opens
Rochester Hills residents and neighbors of a new Wabash Park community garden embraced growing their own fresh vegetables and flowers this summer, starting in June. The community garden is located north of Auburn Road, west of Rochester Road.

The garden features 4-by-8-foot beds in a 100-by-90-foot area of the park, and individual beds are rented for $30 a year. The site includes a 7-and-1/2-foot deer fence and water access.

Lost Lake Nature Center opens
The new Oakland Township Lost Lake Park Nature Center opened Oct. 3 at the park, located south of Predmore Road, west of Rochester Road. Recent Lost Lake Nature Park improvements — including a new park dock on Lost Lake with an innovative design accommodating wheelchair users who wish to kayak — resulted in an award from Keep Michigan Beautiful Inc. in October.

Main Street Makeover wins award
The Keep Michigan Beautiful organization awarded a President’s Plaque to Rochester’s Main Street Makeover project in October. 

The plaque is the highest award given by the Keep Michigan Beautiful organization. Each year, the organization recognizes programs and activities that substantially contribute to environmental improvements, cleanup, beautification and site restoration in Michigan. The Main Street Makeover downtown reconstruction project — which delivered a facelift to downtown Rochester with new road surfaces, sidewalks and much more — was completed in 2012.

Donation funds development of River Bend Park
Thanks to a donation by some longtime Rochester Hills residents, River Bend Park will be developed into a multi-use facility in the near future.

The 70-acre River Bend Park is located north of Hamlin Road, between Crooks and Adams roads. Steve and Darlene Stolaruk, on behalf of the Steve and Vivian Stolaruk Foundation, donated funding to develop the park into walking and jogging paths, canoe launches and habitat restoration.

Luxury development breaks ground
Developers broke ground in November on luxury homes with price tags between $1.8 million and $4 million in Oakland Township.

The first Homearama home tour in more than 10 years is planned at The Pinnacle development for the summer of 2014, featuring exclusive homes up to 9,000 square feet in size in a lavish setting north of Silverbell Road, east of Adams Road.

Kayak locker opens on Clinton River
Below the Main Street bridge, off Diversion Street in Rochester, a new kayak locker opened for Clinton River paddlers in October. 

The site is also the first WaterTown hub, a community-based initiative designed to help towns and cities in the Clinton River Watershed leverage the assets of the Clinton River and Lake St. Clair for water-oriented community development. 

Water quality in the Clinton River has improved dramatically over the past 40 years, according to Clinton River Watershed officials, and the river is now home to a large, varied fishery, and is enjoyed by fishermen, and canoe and kayak paddlers.

New apartment complexes feature walkability
Abutting the Clinton River and Paint Creek trails, an abandoned paper mill site is headed for redevelopment as a residential apartment complex in Rochester. The Mill Town development plans include relocating the Clinton River Trail and lowering it. Developers say the relocated trail would maintain access to all and be a foot above the 100-year flood plain level.

The City Walk shopping center, located on the southeast corner of Tienken and Rochester roads in Rochester Hills, may also include apartments in the near future. High-end residential apartments over first story retail and parking are planned for a site originally slated for a one-story retail building on the east side of the shopping center. Developers of both apartment projects are aiming for high walkability factors for residents.