On Oct. 23, a ceremony was held to dedicate the Robert E. Novitke Municipal Center in honor of Grosse Pointe Woods Mayor Robert Novitke.

On Oct. 23, a ceremony was held to dedicate the Robert E. Novitke Municipal Center in honor of Grosse Pointe Woods Mayor Robert Novitke.

Photo by Deb Jacques

Robert E. Novitke Municipal Center now open

By: Maria Allard | Grosse Pointe Times | Published October 27, 2020


GROSSE POINTE WOODS — Nearly two years ago, the Grosse Pointe Woods City Council voted to name the City Hall municipal complex the Robert E. Novitke Municipal Center.

The accolade was a way to honor Mayor Robert Novitke for his 43 years of service to the city, 30 as a mayor and 13 as a councilman.

On the afternoon of Oct. 23, city officials and employees gathered in front of City Hall, located at 20025 Mack Plaza Drive, for the official dedication of the Robert E. Novitke Municipal Center.

Also present were Novitke’s family, including wife Marsha, and their four children, Debbie, Deanna, David and Michael; Debbie’s husband, John; and Novitke’s three granddaughters.

The municipal complex includes City Hall, the Community Center, the Public Safety Department, and the Grosse Pointe Woods Municipal Court. The dedication came with a plaque commemorating the event. Stucky Vitale Architects, of Royal Oak, was the architectural firm appointed to the project.

Novitke has served on the Grosse Pointe Woods City Council for 43 years. The public first elected him in 1977 as a councilman, and in 1990, he was appointed mayor. He ran for mayor in 1991 and has been reelected in every election ever since. The mayoral election is held every four years.

After last Friday’s ceremony, many attendees congratulated Novitke on the dedication and thanked him for his support of the city.

“I’m just honored,” Novitke said. “Thanks to the council and the support of the administration, the residents, the city employees and the business community. Also to my wife and children.”

Novitke, who serves on several commissions in the city, was in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1964 to 1968, with time spent in Vietnam. He has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Wayne State University and earned a Juris Doctor from the Detroit College of Law.

Novitke, a Grosse Pointe Woods resident for 46 years, began practicing law in 1975. That’s when he decided he wanted to become more involved with the city, and two years later, in 1977, he began his first term on the City Council.

“We have a great council,” Novitke said. “The city has been blessed with quality people. It’s a great city to be involved in.”

Daughter Debbie McCarthy, a member of the Grosse Pointe Woods Beautification Commission, was just 8 years old when she helped her dad with his first campaign.

“He sent my brother and I out to pass out literature,” McCarthy remembered.

“Very honorable,” was how she described the building being named after her dad. “I’m very proud of my father. As his daughter, I saw his dedication and time. For the most part, it’s a volunteer job.”

“He has certainly put his stamp on the City of Grosse Pointe Woods,” Mayor Pro Tem Arthur Bryant said. “In addition, I would like to thank Marsha and his family for the sacrifices they have made over the years of his public service.”

At the dedication ceremony, Bryant paid tribute to Novitke with a speech and also addressed the building renovations that occurred at the municipal center.

“Last year, much-needed work was being done on City Hall, including a new roof, a new heating and cooling system, parking lot repairs, LED lighting conversions, and more,” Bryant said. “It was decided to update the building from the 1950s configuration it had been.”

However, the upgrades were put on hold when, in March 2019, a flood occurred at City Hall. An improperly fastened joint of two water pipes caused the flooding in the early morning hours of March 3.

Because of the water damage, the City Hall employees temporarily moved their offices into the Community Center. Ceilings, walls, lighting, electrical, flooring, cubicle walls and furniture affected by the flood needed to be replaced. During the process, it was also decided that the building needed to be updated to a more modern and efficient setting.

The money for the renovations came from the city’s insurance company, which sought restitution from the contractor responsible for the flood damages. Along with the City Hall upgrades, in the summer of 2019, the Public Safety Department jail was renovated. The Grosse Pointe Woods Public Safety Department received a $500,000 grant to renovate the jail. In addition, the City of Grosse Pointe Woods put in a total of $146,476 for the project.

“The total cost of all the initial repair, the insurance coverage for the water damage and the (public safety) grant is approximately $2.7 million,” Bryant said.