Oakland Township to transition from rural to suburban, says supervisor

By: Linda Shepard | Rochester Post | Published April 3, 2019


OAKLAND TOWNSHIP — Population growth carries new responsibilities, according to Oakland Township Supervisor Mike Bailey.

“The township continues to increase its population,” Bailey said during a March 21 State of the Township address at Oakland Township Hall. “The transition from rural to suburban is likely in 2020.”

The township’s population was 16,779 at the 2010 census, and it is projected to increase to 18,000 by 2020, he said. Fire and emergency services will need to expand as a result.

With the added population, “response time decreases,” Bailey said. “It is not possible to meet the six-minute (response) requirement with only two (fire) stations.”

According to a recent fire study commissioned by the township, the number of Oakland Township Fire Department runs has increased annually from 400 to almost 1,000, and that is expected to grow by 18 to 20 percent next year.

A third township fire station has been proposed for the northeast corner of Orion and Adams roads.

“The township has already purchased the property,” Bailey said. “This is a work in progress.”

Upcoming township park projects include resurfacing trails in Bear Creek Park, adding a portable shade structure to Marsh View Park, improving the Paint Creek Junction trailhead and replacing a bridge on the Paint Creek Trail. Extensive invasive plant removals will be conducted in several township parks, and a rustic trail loop will be added to Lost Lake Park.

Bailey said township officials aim to be proactive in improving the township’s 44 miles of gravel and limestone roads.

“The gravel somehow disappears,” he said. “Every five years, the (gravel roads) are resurfaced.”

All Oakland Township roads are under the jurisdiction of the Road Commission for Oakland County.

“We are arranging a special meeting with the Road Commission in April to discuss roads,” Bailey said.

A recent Michigan Department of Environmental Quality-mandated water storage requirement project is in progress, he said.

“For safety reasons, we must have storage reservoirs,” Bailey said. “Of course, nobody wants them within eyesight. We don’t want any of those high towers.”

A long list of possible locations is expected to be revealed in May.

“We are about to make up our minds. We didn’t want to move fast on it,” he said. “The construction of the reservoirs is estimated to be in two years.”

The township, first founded in 1827, is celebrating an important anniversary this spring and summer. Oakland Township’s 1819 land purchase by William Russell and Benjamin Woodworth was the state’s 10th land purchase.

“We are working on a bicentennial celebration,”  said Barbara Barber, Oakland Township’s historic preservation planner.

Bailey said celebration activities will include township banners on display outside cider mills, and a collection of door images from barns, houses and other structures will be displayed.

“We cherish and nourish our historic landmarks,” he said.

Oakland Township Manager Dale Stuart praised Bailey’s leadership.

“He is a gentleman, a distinguished individual,” Stuart said. “He says what he means.”

“Those of you who know me know how much I love Oakland Township,” Bailey said. “It is truly a special place.”