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Shelby Township

DDA sewer project nears completion

January 23, 2013

SHELBY TOWNSHIP — When business owners in the Shelby Township Downtown Development Authority flush a toilet or turn on faucets, they might hear the sound of cash registers.

With a project to install 10,000 feet of sanitary sewer mains and extend Detroit Water and Sewerage Department service south of 22 Mile Road on Van Dyke Ave. nearing completion, DDA members are looking forward to the $2.3 million project paying dividends.

“These businesses have been on septic, and if you think of a business like Mexican Village on septic all these years, it has been in a dire situation,” DDA Organization Committee Chair Pat Rabaut Miller said.

“To be on septic, any businesses that use a lot of water, like a beauty salon or restaurant, have been in dire straights because it costs a lot of money to replace a septic field.”

The project is complete and fully operational, south of Rhode Drive. The remaining construction, north of Rhode Drive to 22 Mile Road, will be finished during the spring of 2013.

“They just have a little more than about 15 percent to go from Rhodes north,” Rabaut Miller said, noting that the completed portion is currently on operational sewer and water lines. “Then they have to do some landscaping and property restoration.”

Once the entire project is complete, the DDA’s hope is that, with operational sewer and water lines, new businesses will not be deterred from opening shop in that area.

“The sewage thing was big because no restaurants would open up there on septic,” Rabaut Miller said. “We made it more attractive to any business that wants to come there, so there’s no limitations there.”

Along with helping the present and future businesses in the area, Rabaut Miller said the project could help residences nearby, as it has them on the doorstep of hooking up to sewer and water lines, if they desire.

“It brings the sewage system to the residential area much closer than it’s ever been before,” Rabaut Miller said. “And if they want to (expand), it makes it a lot more reasonable because the expensive part has been done.”

To facilitate the installation of sewer line and mains in the area, a Special Assessment District was declared Nov. 15, 2011, and an early price tag of $2,220,040.68 was attached for the sewer installation June 5, 2012.

The Board of Trustees approved a financial move June 19, 2012, to lessen the long-term financial effects of installing the sanitary sewer by creating an Improvement Revolving Fund with money from surpluses in the water and sewer reserve fund to help reduce interest costs to business owners within the district.

“It’s nice, now that that part of Shelby Township will have modern sewage — something that should have happened many years ago,” township Supervisor Richard Stathakis said. “The important thing is the DDA got it done.”

Stathakis and Rabaut Miller agreed that the project was an example of the DDA — with members such as DDA Design Committee Chairman Anthony Fanelli and DDA President Bill Hellebuyck — working with government officials like Department of Public Works Director Ted Schoenherr and Planning Commissioner Glenn Wynn to complete the project at a reasonable price and within a reasonable timeframe.

“The DDA was formed in 2006, and … (Paula Filar and I) changed the direction of that committee,” Stathakis said. “It went from promoting itself to promoting Shelby Township with brick and mortar projects. And because of the wonderful teamwork of the DDA and board, we were able to accomplish a new sewer.”

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