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 The Tri-County Commerce Center at 10 Mile and Dequindre roads, formerly the site of the Hazel Park Raceway, will continue to grow in 2020 with the construction of Building No. 3.

The Tri-County Commerce Center at 10 Mile and Dequindre roads, formerly the site of the Hazel Park Raceway, will continue to grow in 2020 with the construction of Building No. 3.

Photo by Deb Jacques

Officials assess Hazel Park’s 2019, look ahead to new year

By: Andy Kozlowski | Madison - Park News | Published January 3, 2020


HAZEL PARK — Last year was an exciting one for Andy LeCureaux and Mike McFall. Both ran for seats on the Hazel Park City Council — LeCureaux seeking reelection, and McFall his first term — and both prevailed.

But the two men feel that the year’s good news wasn’t limited to their political careers.

“I believe 2019 will be remembered positively (for Hazel Park),” McFall said. “Our home values are up; our city is ranked as No. 1 for affordability for first-time homebuyers; and we have lots of new residents. Our residential and business development is getting noticed across the region. We have lots of great things happening in our city.”

Highlights for McFall included the community coming together to build the new playscape at Scout-McPherson Park, as well as the city’s first official raising of an LGBTQ pride flag at City Hall the morning of June 1. In addition, the city saw its first class of entrepreneurs graduating from the Build Institute last month. The Build Institute is a nonprofit that teaches people how to run a business.

“I campaigned on creating opportunities for residents, and that’s what we did by bringing the Build Institute to Hazel Park,” McFall said.

Regarding the raising of the LGBTQ pride flag, McFall said, “That morning was a beautiful demonstration of Hazel Park’s friendly and welcoming spirit.”

He feels that a friendly community spirit was also embodied in the park build at Scout Park, funded by a $350,000 grant from the Sutar-Sutaruk-Meyer Foundation on the stipulation that volunteers would build the playground.

“We put out a call to our community, and not surprisingly, they answered,” McFall said. “For a week from dusk till dawn, our city came together to build this amazing structure for our community’s kids. People were working side by side to complete the project — and we did.”

That park build was a highlight for LeCureaux as well, along with the repaving of major thoroughfares such as Nine Mile, 10 Mile and John R roads, and the ongoing construction by developer Ashley Capital at the former Hazel Park Raceway site, where the Tri-County Commerce Center has attracted such tenants as Amazon, LG Electronics and more.

“The park construction was a much larger undertaking than just the one week (June 10-15) that was spent assembling the majority of the site,” LeCureaux said. “Many different people worked for months behind the scenes to coordinate the tools, equipment, materials, volunteers and food to make this happen. The response from the community and different relationships that were also built are priceless.

“The repair and resurfacing of our major roads, while not complete, will bring more investment and help integrate more modes of transportation,” he continued. “And the second of three phases at the Tri-County Commerce Center is going to produce hundreds of more employment opportunities for our residents.

“Others might remember 2019 for the headache of never-ending road construction, but I’ll remember 2019 for the park build,” he concluded. “Hazel Park’s true character of working together for others was on full display.”

Forecasting 2020
Like other Michigan communities, Hazel Park had its share of challenges that manifested in 2019 and will continue to persist into 2020.

“The challenges we face are more of the same,” LeCureaux said. “Michigan’s system of municipal finance is fundamentally broken. Rising home values don’t translate in rising revenues for the city because of the interaction of the Headlee Amendment and Proposal A. We rise to the challenge by seeking and being awarded grants for road repairs and fire equipment, among others. We also invest in education for our employees, and it pays off in countless ways.

“Looking ahead to 2020, the challenges we face will be to continue to provide the outstanding level of services we’re accustomed to, while balancing the budget and retaining quality employees,” LeCureaux said. “Our employees and administration will continue to think outside the box and be innovative, seeking grants and cooperating with other organizations. Safe and effective implementation of the marijuana laws is a continuing challenge, as the state of Michigan tries to get its act together.”

McFall added: “There will always be challenges — always. But I have great faith in my fellow elected officials and our city’s residents that we will work together to find solutions. Changes will probably be one of our biggest challenges.

“The John R road diet and continuation of the bike lanes is a good example of the challenge of change. Not everyone is going to agree with or like these changes, but I think something we can all agree on is making our city more attractive to new homeowners and entrepreneurs wanting to open new businesses,” he said. “Developing our downtown is good for our city and its residents.”

McFall said that he feels Hazel Park is on the right track. His goal for 2020 is to continue working to attract businesses.

“I’m feeling very positive and have great hopes for our friendly little city,” he said.

For LeCureaux, his goals include overseeing the completion of the city’s road construction, and the grand opening of Hazel Park’s first marijuana dispensary and provisioning center. He also wants to maintain the city’s momentum with regards to economic development.

“Hazel Park is well situated to benefit from the great things happening in the city of Detroit,” LeCureaux said. “The new technologies that are coming — (artificial intelligence) and 5G — have the potential to transform the way we work, live and travel. We either embrace them or get left behind.

“I am excited and feel great about the future prospects for Hazel Park,” LeCureaux concluded, “and our ability to make the most of the opportunities.”