Residents gather to share opinions on new City Hall

By: Kayla Dimick | Southfield Sun | Published April 3, 2015

 Jack McDonough, project manager from MSU School of Planning Design and Construction, far left, talks to Lathrup Village residents about their ideas for the City Hall remodel. Brian and Julie Craigo, Mary Holliday and Rex Edwards, all of Lathrup Village, discuss their ideas during an open house March 26 in the Community Room of City Hall.

Jack McDonough, project manager from MSU School of Planning Design and Construction, far left, talks to Lathrup Village residents about their ideas for the City Hall remodel. Brian and Julie Craigo, Mary Holliday and Rex Edwards, all of Lathrup Village, discuss their ideas during an open house March 26 in the Community Room of City Hall.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

LATHRUP VILLAGE — Yellow sticky notes dotted design plans lining the stage in the Lathrup Village Community Room as residents posted their opinions on what they want to see for the future of Lathrup Village City Hall.

Residents and community members were invited to an open house from 6-8 p.m. March 26 to discuss the new design plans for City Hall and its grounds.

Lathrup Village was recently selected to be part of the PlacePlans project, which is spearheaded by the Michigan Municipal League and aims to aid cities by lending technical assistance with key economic development projects.

In order to be included in the project, Assistant City Administrator Martha Potere said in an earlier report that the city wrote a letter of intent after thinking about which project would create a better sense of place in the community, citing the heavy use of the parks and grounds of City Hall.

Lathrup Village’s inclusion in the project will be covered by a grant from the MML and Michigan State University, said MML Program Coordinator Richard Murphy. The projects are also completed through support from the Michigan State Housing Development Authority and Gov. Rick Snyder’s MIplace Partnership.

After its selection, the Michigan Municipal League and city officials held a visioning session Feb. 26 for residents to share what they think their ideal City Hall and the grounds surrounding it look like.

From there, officials took the suggestions from the community, and a design team created two design plans for residents to review and critique.

“We are here with MSU Design and Construction program to look at how the City Hall property fits into the overall village center plan, and what can and should be done with those spaces to make them best fit the needs of the residents,” Murphy said.

Warren Rauhe, professor of landscape architecture from Michigan State University, presented the design plans. Afterward, residents could then look at the plans up close and personal at tables set up through the hall. Then, they were invited to place sticky notes with their feedback on the plans, which lined the stage.

“It’s important to have everybody’s opinions considered, as well as everyone getting the feeling of being a part of the project, because it’s a community design project,” said Jessica Reed, executive search coordinator at the Michigan Municipal League.

The first plan, called Village Green, features many different types of flowers, arbors, greenery and walkable green lawns. The second plan, called Village Plaza, features a more urban feel with shops and underground parking.

The second alternative would relocate the existing City Hall into another location on the grounds, while the first would keep it where it is, Potere said.

“I was drawn to the one that had more greenery first, but the more I think about it, I like the second plan, how it has that plaza,” said resident Elaine Mantinan. “You could have everybody hanging out there in the cafés.”

Resident Mark Germaine said he thinks the Village Plaza plan seems too ambitious.

“Two looks great, but I just don’t know. It’s very ambitious. It’s almost something you would want to start from scratch when the city was in its infancy,” Germaine said.

Lathrup Village Mayor Frank Brock also attended the meeting.

“I have a hunch the final product is going to blend a lot of the characteristics of both of them,” Brock said.

Throughout the year, more meetings will be held for residents to keep updated on developments and share their opinions. Potere said the next meeting has not yet been planned, but will most likely take place in July.

The budget for the project will be determined after residents decide what they want to see, Murphy said.

The project should wrap up by October, Potere said.