Clinton Township Supervisor Robert Cannon takes the podium at the Clinton-Macomb Public Library’s main branch on Jan. 26 to deliver his State of Clinton Township address.

Clinton Township Supervisor Robert Cannon takes the podium at the Clinton-Macomb Public Library’s main branch on Jan. 26 to deliver his State of Clinton Township address.

Photo by Dean Vaglia

Cannon delivers State of Clinton Township address

By: Dean Vaglia | C&G Newspapers | Published February 1, 2024


CLINTON TOWNSHIP — Another year, another chance to tout the township’s accomplishments. On the morning of Jan. 26, Clinton Township Supervisor Robert Cannon took the podium at the Clinton-Macomb Public Library’s main branch and delivered his State of Clinton Township address.

Put on by the Macomb County Chamber, Cannon’s address focused on the various business and real estate developments that unfolded over a year that saw 177 businesses enter Clinton Township. Cannon structured his address as a tour of the township.

Groesbeck was the first corridor to have its development discussed, referring to the road’s prior zoning conditions as a “mess” that was untangled by the township. Cannon’s goal for Groesbeck is to direct long-term developments along it, and no development exemplifies this idea more than the mixed-use East Town Village development at the corner of Groesbeck and Elizabeth Road.

“It’s going to have senior housing, single-family housing, apartments and commercial,” Cannon said. “And I understand now someone has purchased or is about to purchase Buck’s Garage and will reconvert that into a nice commercial area also, so we’re really pleased about that. It’s taken a long time because (developers) had a lot to do to get the property aligned for what they wanted to do, for we wanted to do and will support for them to do.”

Garfield was Cannon’s next focus. He shined the spotlight on a new commercial complex at the intersection with 19 Mile Road, the Canteen Golf & Billiards golf simulator and entertainment business moving into the strip mall near Canal Road, and a gas station built to keep Kroger in its Canal and 19 Mile location. Cannon said the grocer was threatening to leave if it was not allowed to build the gas station.

“Our choice was to move the gas station down a little bit, which we did,” Cannon said. “It looks very nice in there. We really did not need another gas station, but what do we need? We need Kroger, so they are staying and we’re happy about that.”

Cannon’s tour of the township then took guests to Hall Road by featuring new tenants at the road’s malls. Partridge Creek picked up five new tenants including a Powerhouse Gym set to open in the old Carson’s space. The gym will be the mall’s new anchor and the largest Powerhouse Gym. Other highlights near Hall Road include the expansion of Henry Ford Macomb Hospital and the news of the Fifth Third Bank building going up for sale.

Outside of business interests, Cannon discussed some government tasks like zoning enforcement, road projects and parks. Grants received by the township have allowed the township to build kayaking points along the Clinton River, while a new field for adult special needs baseball is being built at Neil Reid Park.

Though Cannon is one of the key personalities on the Clinton Township Board of Trustees, clashes between the board’s personalities is a frequent occurrence. This clash of personalities and politics played out during the morning of Jan. 26 as Trustee Mike Keys opted to skip the speech for another event at the Clinton-Macomb Public Library’s South Branch, a pancake breakfast and food drive for the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 154. Keys’ counter event was in opposition to what he sees as an unfair level of support for the Macomb County Chamber compared to other nonprofits.

“We, as a township, are using taxpayer resources to support a single nonprofit organization,” Keys said. “If these resources were open to any nonprofit that wanted to host a fundraiser every year, I don’t know that I would have the same objections.”

One particular implication of the event Keys takes issue with is the use of township funds to buy tickets to the address.

“This isn’t just about the township using our cable department, our supervisor’s department and every part of the administration to orchestrate a fundraiser for the chamber, but they’re also funneling taxpayer money directly from department budgets to the chamber,” Keys said.

Keys criticized the arrangement as the chamber has a political action committee, calling the arrangement “one step removed” from when former Warren Mayor Jim Fouts used the State of the City address to fundraise for a PAC in 2016.

Cannon briefly acknowledged Keys’ event and concerns in his opening remarks. He said the chamber’s “state of” addresses are the only way for it to make money.

“There is no other way for them to receive funds,” Cannon said. “This is their fundraiser. This is not a fundraiser for Clinton Township. This is not a fundraiser for anyone else, the library. It is a fundraiser for people we appreciate very much.”

As for Keys’ event, Cannon told the audience he “considers that an insult and I apologize for it.”

Keys had not seen the recording of Cannon’s address when contacted, but the trustee’s remarks about the township’s past year were no less positive than the supervisor’s.

“I think that (in) the past year we’ve continued to gain momentum in the realm of trying to spread resources throughout our parks and access through our senior center,” Keys said. “On the horizon, I’m hopeful that it will look even better. As soon as we get another trustee elected and we have a full board, I think that is going to allow us to capitalize on a lot of investments that are to come.”