A recently approved master plan could help turn a section of Keego Harbor into a walkable, traditional, small-scaled village.

A recently approved master plan could help turn a section of Keego Harbor into a walkable, traditional, small-scaled village.

Image provided by Brian Lampl


New Keego Harbor council members look ahead to 2022

By: Mark Vest | West Bloomfield Beacon | Published December 9, 2021

 Brian Lampl was reelected as a member of Keego Harbor’s City Council Nov. 2.

Brian Lampl was reelected as a member of Keego Harbor’s City Council Nov. 2.

Photo by Deb Jacques

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KEEGO HARBOR — Fiscal matters, roads, police services and the Cass Lake Road Corridor are topping the list of things to focus on for City Council’s new and newly re-elected members.

At the Nov. 2 general election, Brian Lampl was reelected as a Keego Harbor City Council member, with Michael Karson earning a spot on council for the first time.

Both were elected to three-year terms.

Being reelected puts Lampl in a position to try to help advance items that have already been up for consideration.

He originally ran for a spot on Keego’s City Council in 2018.

“I was very excited that (the) community supported my reelection,” Lampl said. “This is an ongoing process with much of our things. There’s accomplishments along the way, but there’s more work to be done, and I’m excited to be able to give back to the community in this way and continue doing what we’ve been doing.”

Karson said he made the decision to run because he “felt the need to serve.”

He was previously involved in three successful elections for a spot on the Walled Lake Consolidated Schools Board of Education, and he served more than 12 years in that capacity.

Karson expressed confidence that he can “bring a benefit to the process” as a Keego City Council member.

“I was very pleased to win,” he said. “I’m very excited and honored to be able to represent the citizens of Keego Harbor and do everything in my power to represent everybody the best possible way, and make good decisions for what’s happening in the city now and in the future.”

Lampl shared his primary objectives for the new term.

“The City Council continues to focus on our fiscal responsibility as a priority so that we can ensure our services, like EMS, fire, police, to our community,” he said. “In addition, we’re restarting our road preservation program in the spring. … We’re looking forward to continuing to improve our roads.”

Lampl also said Keego has been looking into grant opportunities the city can apply for to help improve green infrastructure and park areas.

Perhaps the biggest project Keego is involved with is what’s known as the Village Plan, which Lampl described as the “reimagining of the Cass Lake corridor.”

The plan involves transforming a section of Keego Harbor along Cass Lake Road into a walkable, traditional, small-scaled village. It was approved at a City Council meeting in July.

Part of the plan involves the creation of a new town square, which is expected to be lined with 20 to 30 small shops and cafés at street level, with widened walkways and outside dining patios.

Also proposed as part of the plan is a small, specialty grocery store and 200 new residential dwellings designed to appeal to a diverse range of ages, incomes and demographic groups.

Lofts, townhomes, cottages and condominiums priced from modest to upscale levels could be among the kinds of homes residents will see.

“My wife and I get around the city, and many people were very excited to see that we’re moving forward with it,” Lampl said. “I think they’re encouraged by the fact that, typically in these types of master planning (processes), it could be a 20-year outlook, but that we could see changes in the city in the next three to five years, or perhaps sooner.”

Lampl discussed one of the major pieces of the puzzle necessary for the Village Plan to work.

“We are looking to implement 170-plus ordinances that it would take to usher in the kind of building that you would see with the kind of development you’d be able to see reflected in that Village Plan,” he said. “That will take about 10 months, 10 to 12 months, probably. … The process is fairly lengthy in order to implement those, but it’s a commitment that City Council, (the) Planning Commission and the (Tax Increment Financing) Board all committed to when we started to take a look at putting this master plan in place.”

Karson discussed his primary aspirations as a member of council.

“I (want to) gain an understanding of the financials, get in-depth with (the) strategic plan and what’s been organized, (and) hear from the perspective of everyone who’s currently in council of what they feel is important and why,” he said.

Karson added that he wants to find common ground, make sure that funds are being well spent and that the Police Department is properly staffed.

Another of his objectives also involves the Police Department.

“I would very much like to see body cams on all of our officers,” Karson said. “I think they’re extremely important to protect citizens, to protect anyone that has an encounter with the police; but also to protect the police officer. … I think it’s the most responsible thing that we can do.”

Karson said he ran on transparency, safety and strategic planning. He was asked what he wants residents to know about him and what they can expect from him as a member of council.

“I will listen to what they have to say,” Karson said. “I will be transparent. I will represent the best needs of the city. I am open to feedback and am available to talk.”

Lampl shared his evaluation of the current state of Keego Harbor.

“I think that we’re in a good place overall, and I think that we’re on pace with the things that we would like to do,” he said.

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