Southfield, Lathrup Village mayors focus on infrastructure, businesses in annual address

By: Jacob Herbert | Southfield Sun | Published July 1, 2021

 outhfield Mayor Ken Siver speaks during the State of the City Address June 23 at the Regency Manor. Siver touched on Southfield’s pandemic response and new business developments in his speech.

outhfield Mayor Ken Siver speaks during the State of the City Address June 23 at the Regency Manor. Siver touched on Southfield’s pandemic response and new business developments in his speech.

Photo by Deb Jacques

 Lathrup Village Mayor Kelly Garrett also spoke during the State of the City Address. Garrett talked about the city’s food distribution efforts, as well as a $12 million infrastructure project that will repair the streets of the village.

Lathrup Village Mayor Kelly Garrett also spoke during the State of the City Address. Garrett talked about the city’s food distribution efforts, as well as a $12 million infrastructure project that will repair the streets of the village.

Photo by Deb Jacques

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SOUTHFIELD — Southfield Mayor Ken Siver and Lathrup Village Mayor Kelly Garrett presented a joint State of the City Address in front of a packed house June 23 at the Regency Manor.

Both mayors discussed improvements made to the cities and how they were able to fight through COVID-19 while remaining operational.

Garrett started off her speech by thanking her staff for their hard work over the past year and a half. City Administrator Sheri L. Mitchell, Treasurer Pamela Bratschi, Mayor Pro Tem Bruce Kantor, Administrative Assistant Melody Simpson and Code Enforcement Officer Rami Sweidan all played a prominent role in conducting business as usual when the world was forced to shut down, she said.

“During COVID-19, we had to change some things, but Lathrup was able to stay open,” Garrett said. “We closed down just to wipe down surfaces, but we stayed open all the way through from March until now. I have to say, as much as I want to take credit for it, the credit goes to our administration and our staff.”

During her speech, Garrett highlighted a food distribution program put on by the city through a partnership with Oakland County. Lathrup Village was able to provide 1,200 food boxes to residents in need. The event was so successful that Garrett was asked to do it “over and over again.”

Another highlight of the past year for Lathrup Village was the city’s Downtown Development Authority assisting small businesses with over $200,000 through the Lovin Lathrup Village Business Relief Mini-Grant Program. The money went to small mom-and-pop shops impacted by the pandemic.

Other items touched on in the speech included the opening of a dog park, the opening of a community garden and a traffic safety initiative through a partnership with Southfield and Beverly Hills.

Garrett concluded her speech by discussing a new infrastructure plan dedicated to fixing the city’s roads.

“I am so happy to announce that we now have a $12 million infrastructure plan going on repairing all the streets in Lathrup Village, and I must say, if it was not for the mayor pro tem heading up the infrastructure committee, we don’t know where we would have been,” she said. “We are repairing all the streets, all the ditches and all of the sidewalks.”

Siver also touched on infrastructure efforts. Since 2016, 67 miles of road have been reconstructed within city limits, along with 3.6 miles of new sanitary sewers, 31.3 miles of water mains, 10.24 miles of walking pathways, and 10 bridge replacements. By the time 2021 concludes, Southfield will have invested $228.8 million in fixing infrastructure issues.

Siver also highlighted several business developments and advancements in the city. The Hampton Inn Southfield and Staybridge Sweets hotels have begun construction on vacant land along the Northwestern Highway Service Drive, north of Civic Center Drive. Each hotel will have 112 rooms.

The sale of Northland Center is also expected to close soon, the mayor said. Contour Cos., of Bloomfield Hills, is close to completing the $12 million purchase of 100 acres of the mall. Through adaptive reuse, 1,300 apartments of various sizes and price points will be constructed in 14 different five-story buildings. Six of those buildings will have retail shops on the ground floor.

“I’m a big proponent of adaptive reuse and very pleased that much of the original mall will be saved and put to new uses,” Siver said.     

Other development plans on the horizon include the transformation of the Hudson’s department store into Hudson City Market and a mixed-use center with 160 apartments, offices, neighborhood retail and pocket parks near Evergreen Road and Civic Center Drive. A new sports dome is coming to the corner of Southfield and Nine Mile roads. The dome will be complete with softball diamonds, soccer fields, lacrosse fields, flag football fields and volleyball courts. A new Seoul Garden Gourmet Market is coming to the former Copper Canyon at Telegraph Road and Northwestern Highway. The space will be reimaged and rebuilt to create a new gourmet market next to the New Seoul Garden Restaurant.

Siver touched on the impacts of COVID-19 during his speech: 333 Southfield residents lost their lives to the virus. The mayor highlighted a flag display and memorial program that took place May 11 on the front lawn of City Hall.

Southfield tried to keep some sense of normalcy during the pandemic. City Hall business was conducted online, and virtual meetings were held.

“Obviously, life goes on, and we mark the holidays and continue annual events,” Siver said. “Our Parks and Rec Department created outdoor and online programs. We had a number of parades and drive-by celebrations. We tried to keep some sense of normalcy while obviously being cautious about the pandemic.”

Siver thanked Ascension Health for setting up a vaccine clinic at the Southfield Pavilion through a partnership with Oakland County.

Despite the many challenges that came along with the pandemic, Southfield and Lathrup Village kept moving forward, officials said. The Southfield Human Services Department set up a 24/7 COVID-19 hotline to assist residents with any and all COVID-19 questions. As the severity of the pandemic decreases, both officials said they have put themselves in positions to thrive.

“We adjusted our lives, the way we lived and worked and kept Southfield moving forward all through the pandemic,” Siver said.

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