More development on the way for St. Clair Shores in 2018

By: Kristyne E. Demske | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published January 9, 2018

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ST. CLAIR SHORES — If 2017 was the year of construction, 2018 may shape up to be the year of openings throughout St. Clair Shores.

But first, more building is on the horizon.

Mayor Kip Walby said that the city is excited about the construction and opening of the new skate park at Kyte Monroe Memorial Park, which has been in development for several years. In addition, the new baseball diamonds at the St. Gertrude ballfields are nearly completed and should be ready for games in 2018.

A consultant hired by the Tax Increment Finance Authority, or TIFA, may lead to changes at Blossom Heath Park and on the Nautical Mile this year, Walby said. While many changes were made to the park in 2017, “we need to do more there, improve the bathhouse,” he said. 

City Manager Mike Smith said that they hope to begin working on changes to that area in February, which could wrap up in April or May.

Two large projects that were under construction for most of 2017 will wrap up in 2018: the Regency St. Clair Shores by Cienna Healthcare facility on the site of the former Chapoton Apartments, and the Lakeshore Senior Living facility on the site of the former St. Gertrude Church. 

“We should also see the demolition of the Kmart” to make way for a new Kroger on Harper Avenue at Nine Mile Road, Smith said. 

“It’ll be a sizeable improvement. Kmart’s been there, my gosh, more than 50 years, so ... to see that site redeveloped after 50 years ... it’ll be great for the south end of the town.”

Smith said that he’s hoping to see construction at 11 Mile Road and Harper Avenue and east of the current Kroger on Nine Mile Road, as well.

“As an older community, we’re always challenged with finances. Financially, it’s always a challenge every year to make sure we take care of the books,” he said. “Always a challenge on the infrastructure.”

To that end, he said the city has developed a “great working relationship” with new Macomb County Public Works Commissioner Candice Miller. Walby said they are working on a long-term plan to get rid of the combination sewer system that is still in the south end of the city, where storm sewers and sanitary sewers are combined.

Challenges also face the Police Department, Smith said. 

“It’s a big challenge, still, for the city getting quality officers to fill the people that are retiring,” he said. “Keeping the level of service going and the quality of the leadership that we have enjoyed this many years.”

Succession planning in the city administration is also a problem that needs to be addressed, Smith said. 

“We don’t go as deep as we used to back in the day, so when you have one person in a position ... it’s kind of a challenge, so we’re starting to take a closer look at some of that stuff,” he said. 

He said he hopes that a system of evaluating the city’s roadways will be complete in 2018 so that construction can be better planned around the needs of roads and sewers. 

“Before we start taking up roadways, we have to consider what’s underground,” he said. “There’s a possibility that this coming calendar year we might not do a lot of road reconstruction, but road rehabilitation. 

“If you don’t do the crack sealing and other maintenance, your good roads can turn into bad roads.”