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Leaders in Clinton Township, Fraser discuss 2020 agendas

By: Nick Mordowanec | Fraser - Clinton Township Chronicle | Published January 6, 2020

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CLINTON TOWNSHIP/FRASER — A new calendar year translates to a to-do list for locally elected officials to tackle.

Clinton Township Supervisor Bob Cannon said the township’s strategic plan, which was first announced during his January 2019 State of Clinton Township address, will continue to provide the community, staff and the Board of Trustees direction for what the future holds.

In late 2019, residents and other community stakeholders were asked to participate in a survey where they could directly relate what their biggest wants and needs are.

Cannon added that Planning Director Bruce Thompson has facilitated a group of individuals to strictly oversee the potential of Groesbeck Highway. Some new businesses are already calling the corridor home.

“We’ve never really concentrated on just Groesbeck Highway. … It’s a very different corridor because it’s residential, commercial and industrial,” Cannon said. “There was never really a coordinated plan from the beginning.”

Roads and road quality continue to be on residents’ and businesses’ minds, just like in most areas across the state. Cannon said the township hopes to secure additional funding for road-related repairs on major thoroughfares, including Kelly and Greenfield roads.

He said Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel and his office have “been very cooperative” in aiding funding mechanisms. Following his State of Macomb County address in December, Hackel called those same mechanisms “unacceptable” and desires an overhaul to the Act 51 formula.

Cannon has the same wishes, but possesses less optimism.

“I don’t see any activity, or any will, for activity up in Lansing,” Cannon said. “And until that happens, you’ll just be talking to the wall. … Those who aren’t getting the short end of the stick like it.”

The township is also in the midst of new strategies to repurpose land.

“The big box era is gone,” Cannon said. “Kmarts are never going to be Kmarts again. Redevelopment is paramount, and even some of the smaller stores going out at the mall, that’s just a result of the way we shop today,” he said.

There are still no updates on the Parkway Plaza property at Groesbeck and Metropolitan Parkway, which Cannon calls a “sore spot” for the community.

“We’re either going to move ahead, repurpose and do it differently, or it’s going to be an industrial corner,” the supervisor said. “I think people would rather have shopping than an industrial corner.”

In his 2020 State of Clinton Township address in January, Cannon hinted at focusing on what makes the township unique: volunteerism and its role in the county’s blue economy.

Hackel announced a new handicap-accessible water access point will be installed in the township, at Woodrow Woody Park. Cannon said it will add to residents’ quality of life.

He also plans to discuss The Wall That Heals, which comes in July. Macomb County Treasurer Larry Rocca, a Vietnam veteran, is expected to speak on that behalf.

Other points of pride discussed will include parks and recreation, along with touting the work of public safety officials.

“Our reputation is quite good, and we’re really proud of that,” Cannon said.

 

Fraser City Council has ‘proactive’ approach
Fraser Mayor Mike Carnagie is upbeat about how the city has managed its finances in recent years, saying that the current path forward is one that will continue to be goal-oriented and stable.

“We’ve had great support from the residents with the tax increases we’ve done, and we’re going to start showing the return,” he said.

That includes updating a couple parks with newer equipment, compared to current equipment that may be hazardous or obsolete. Infrastructure fixes are also on the agenda, including sewer lines and water mains. Water valve fixes should help reduce main breaks by over 50%, Carnagie said.

Roads are a problem in Fraser, too, like anywhere else. Fruehauf Road is expected to be reconstructed.

“Sometimes you have to spend the money in order to save the money,” he said. “We’re being a proactive council, not a reactive council.”

Debt continues to be “the biggest thing,” paying off health care and pensions. However, another “great” audit — one of the best in a decade or two, the mayor said — as well as a strong bond rating is evidence of a more balanced budget.

Carnagie said he receives calls from residents and industrial business owners who are willing to work with the city in different facets.

As for the hot-button issue of marijuana, Fraser remains in an “opt out” state. He said he will always listen to people’s opinions on the subject, but he and other city officials are waiting for the federal government to make further determinations.

“We’re not going to stand by, but see what other communities do and what the fed government does and make action after that,” he noted.

Another goal of his involves working symbiotically with nearby municipalities in areas like sidewalks, in terms of connecting bike paths so Fraser residents can have an easier time accessing Metropolitan Parkway and, in turn, Lake St. Clair Metropark.

“It seems like everyone has the same goals with this council, to maintain and to keep the services — if not to try to improve them,” Carnagie said. “We want to put the best people in the right seats to do the best job.”