Madison Heights, Hazel Park officials outline hopes, goals for 2022

By: Andy Kozlowski | Madison - Park News | Published January 26, 2022

MADISON HEIGHTS/HAZEL PARK — With 2022 now underway, officials in Hazel Park and Madison Heights are still cautious, mindful of the pandemic and inflation. But they also hope to make the best of things with capital improvement projects and quality-of-life initiatives.  

Each council member was contacted via email regarding their priorities for the new year. Madison Heights City Council members Emily Rohrbach and David Soltis did not reply by press time, nor did Hazel Park Mayor Mike Webb.

Madison Heights Mayor Roslyn Grafstein said that 2022 will be “a time of growth for the city,” with Madison Heights seeking out business partners to invest in vacant and underused properties, and renovations at the library and City Hall, along with relocating the Active Adult Center between them at Civic Center Plaza, on 13 Mile Road west of John R Road. 

Elsewhere, Fire Station No. 2 on John R Road near 11 Mile Road will also be rebuilt. Altogether, the work on the four buildings will comprise the largest capital improvement project in the city’s history, set to start this summer. The city also plans to redevelop the site of the original Active Adult Center, on John R Road north of 12 Mile Road.

“Some thoughts already being discussed are mixed use or multifamily residential, both of which are needed to address the missing middle housing needs of our community,” Grafstein said, noting that a new senior living facility is also scheduled to open on Dequindre Road later this year.

The mayor said that public safety continues to be another priority for Madison Heights, including efforts to combat human trafficking and drug trafficking at local hotels. She said that while the Proposal MH millage that passed prior to the pandemic will help, the city will also need to find ways to keep the Fire Department fully staffed since COVID has increased the number of EMS runs. She also said she’s hopeful to see more traditional events return to the city this year.

Alissa Sullivan, a Hazel Park City Council member, said she is looking forward to some new parks initiatives currently being developed by the Hazel Park Recreation Department, and she wants to see more artist-based events from the Hazel Park Arts Council, as well as new opportunities for residents to volunteer, such as a citywide cleanup.

“We’re a resilient hardworking city, and I know that we are all experiencing the pandemic difficulties in our lives in different ways,” Sullivan said. “I’m hopeful that our ability to work together and accomplish a lot with a little keeps us moving forward as we have over the past few years. I certainly hope 2022 is going to be a celebration of overcoming obstacles and accomplishing goals — no matter how big or small.” 

Luke Londo, another member of the Hazel Park City Council, said 2022 will be “a year of positive outcomes for our city,” with nearly $1.2 million in American Rescue Plan Act dollars available to the city. He anticipates seeing more new homebuyers and continuing to grow the city’s tax base. He also anticipates more commercial developments around town.

“This year, I would like to pass a ban on conversion therapy, decriminalize entheogenic plants, and increase governmental transparency by addressing the ongoing technological challenges at the city and updating our website and notice requirements,” Londo said. “I also hope to see the road diet on John R from Nine Mile to 10 Mile completed.”

Robert Corbett, the mayor pro tem of Madison Heights, said much will depend on what happens with the economy in 2022. He said that one priority will be maintaining clean and spacious parks with attractive trails, resting benches and exercise stations, as well as modern play structures that are accessible to kids of all ability levels. He also said that pandemic-friendly events like the socially distanced music festival Trail Tunes will continue to be an asset. 

“One other item that should not be overlooked is the new Active Adult Center, the construction of which will begin later this year,” Corbett said. “When completed, the facility … will provide state-of-the-art entertainment and educational venues, as well as areas for socializing and exercising in a welcoming and comfortable environment.”   

Sean Fleming, a new member of the Madison Heights City Council, said he is also looking forward to the city completing the rebuild at Civic Center Plaza.

“Part of the improvements will bring new infrastructure to support parking for electric vehicles,” Fleming said. 

Fleming is also the council’s representative on the Crime Commission.

“I want to guide our Crime Commission to look at crime prevention in the areas of domestic violence, and to work on drug abuse and theft prevention,” Fleming said. “I also want to foster (improved) relationships between police and the residents.”

Quinn Wright, another new member of the Madison Heights City Council, said he sees great potential in 2022.

“Like most, I’m hopeful to see some classic traditions return, like our Memorial Day Parade and the Fourth of July fireworks. I also look forward to new traditions like Madison Heights’ second annual Juneteenth Celebration. The rib competition is a particular favorite of mine,” Wright said. “One of the things I love most about our city is the community members pouring their time and heart into it. My hope is to give residents improvements they can visibly see and truly feel.”

Andy LeCureaux, the mayor pro tem of Hazel Park, said he hopes 2022 will see the end of both the pandemic and Interstate 75 construction in the area.

“Also, we are looking forward to the Memorial Day festivities returning, and maybe adding a ‘fun run’ to start off the parade,” LeCureaux said. “We are also looking forward to the continued housing boom in Hazel Park, and renewed interest in living in ‘The Friendly City.’” 

Mike McFall, a member of the Hazel Park City Council, said the community continues to be resilient amid the pandemic. 

“We have new businesses and other developments scheduled to begin this year — some new and some that were delayed due to COVID,” McFall said. “In 2022, I will be working to safely bring back the Memorial Day Parade and Festival, an annual tradition many of our residents look forward to each year. I’ll also continue my work overseeing the Main Street Hazel Park initiative, working with city commission members to improve our primary business corridor. We must continue to support our businesses and recruit diverse new ones if we want our city’s positive momentum to continue.”

Mark Bliss, a member of the Madison Heights City Council, said his city can look forward to three major events this summer: The Juneteenth Celebration, Trail Tunes, and the return of the Pre-Fourth of July Festival in the Park. 

“For the first time in almost 20 years, our city will once again have three summer festivals for residents to enjoy. Plus, our library, Recreation Department and city boards are also hard at work creating tons of amazing smaller events to keep bringing the community together all year,” Bliss said. “That togetherness is now more important than ever after the isolation that COVID-19 has brought to the people of this city. While we may still have to get creative, should we still be stuck in this pandemic episode of ‘The Twilight Zone,’ as a city we will keep fighting to find safe ways to bring the community together.”