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Consultant hired to conduct analysis of Groesbeck corridor

By: Nick Mordowanec | Fraser - Clinton Township Chronicle | Published February 11, 2020

Photo by Jon Malavolti

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CLINTON TOWNSHIP — A consultant has been hired to facilitate the Groesbeck Highway Market Study Analysis and Corridor Plan.

MKSK, located in midtown Detroit and in business for approximately 30 years, was chosen as the preferred candidate out of three total bids that resulted from a request for proposal process that was initiated Oct. 1, 2019. All bids were submitted by Oct. 25.

Initially introduced to the Clinton Township Board of Trustees as an addendum to the municipality’s overall master plan, the additional M-97 analysis and plan will further delve into the short-term and long-term strategies as aligned with current and future market trends.

On Jan. 9, the Clinton Township Planning Commission unanimously voted to approve MKSK as the consultant.

At the Jan. 21 Board of Trustees meeting, Township Planning Director Bruce Thompson said one of the reasons MKSK was brought in to consult was to “revitalize” the Groesbeck corridor.

“It’s a very unique corridor, and I think bringing a firm in like MKSK to help us do that — to facilitate meetings, to build a consensus — is going to help us both in the long term and short term with these site development guidelines,” Thompson said.

Brad Strader, principal for MKSK, spoke during the Jan. 9 Planning Commission meeting and at the Jan. 21 Board of Trustees meeting. He has worked on 70 to 80 corridor plans throughout Michigan and in a dozen other states.

He spoke of how there are generally five steps in the proposal process, with a goal of getting through step four sometime this May. The process includes data collection, public engagement, stakeholder engagement and to stick to “an accelerated, efficient schedule.”

MKSK has contracted Sharon Woods, the founding principal and CEO of LandUseUSA, to look at statistics, examine trends and even conduct discussions with property owners and brokers to get a lay of the land — a true “market snapshot.”

She has worked with MKSK on about a dozen other corridor projects in Michigan. This particular plan will look at market potentials for industrial, office and commercial spaces, which in turn will decide land uses.

Strader said design guidelines are the first real focus, leading to establishing them in areas like architecture, signs, lighting, landscaping and pedestrian circulation, etc.

Treasurer Paul Gieleghem called Groesbeck “the road that gets people places.” Trustee Mike Keys said designing guidelines for specific properties is an exciting prospect.

Clerk Kim Meltzer was optimistic about the mixed-use plan.

“I’m excited to see the transformation and I think it’s long overdue,” she said.

Supervisor Bob Cannon said Jan. 28 he was “very confident” in MKSK, due to their affiliation with Thompson and his former work in Westland.

“(MKSK has) shown already in some of their examples that they have a grasp of what we are looking for,” Cannon said.

The corridor plan involves both development and redevelopment, he said, adding that maybe coordination could occur between some open properties. He admits it’s the first time the township really put money into this type of help for Groesbeck.

“We can’t change what’s already there. … We have to caution and step back and note that we have some distinct areas of housing, some distinct areas of industrial, we have a railroad that runs on the west side that gives us some short lots,” he said.

As for aspects like walkability, Cannon said, it could be part of the future of the corridor — but only when safety measures improve and are aided by more sidewalks and businesses.

“I view it as an opportunity,” he said. “It’s a problem right now.”

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