Dogs will have a new place to play in 2020, when the city cuts the ribbon on its dog park at Delia Park in Sterling Heights.

Dogs will have a new place to play in 2020, when the city cuts the ribbon on its dog park at Delia Park in Sterling Heights.

Photo by Deb Jacques

Sterling Heights officials ponder 2020 ahead of city’s 2030 vision

By: Eric Czarnik | Sterling Heights Sentry | Published January 14, 2020

 The dog park is one of the final projects of the Recreating Recreation initiative that Sterling Heights presented to the public in 2016.

The dog park is one of the final projects of the Recreating Recreation initiative that Sterling Heights presented to the public in 2016.

Photo by Deb Jacques

STERLING HEIGHTS — Sterling Heights has 10 more years to attain the goals it made for itself in 2014 with its 2030 Visioning Plan — safe neighborhoods, plentiful nonmotorized paths, numerous leisure opportunities, destination spots, vibrant commercial centers and more.

Mayor Michael Taylor thinks the city is well on its way there.

“I think it’s paying off,” he said. “I’m constantly getting emails and phone calls and texts … at how much they love living in the city of Sterling Heights. (I) see a lot of young families. We have something for people of all ages.”

Taylor is among multiple city leaders who are looking ahead to what 2020 has in store for the area. He said he is excited about the new community center, which is expected to have a Feb. 29 grand opening on the corner of Utica and Dodge Park roads.

Another big issue on the horizon is the Lakeside Mall property, which commercial real estate fund Out of the Box Ventures recently acquired for around $26.5 million. City officials have hoped to turn the area into a mixed-use district that could build residences, along with retail and office properties.

“Every year in Sterling Heights is exciting,” Taylor said. “We’re finally going to have all stages of the Parks and Recreation ‘Recreating Recreation’ initiative open — the dog park, the recreation center.”

Taylor said one of the biggest things he is looking forward to is the U.S. Census, which happens once a decade. He said the city will begin an outreach plan to inform residents about the importance of filling out the paperwork.

“Sterling Heights is going to be putting a lot of emphasis and effort in making sure every resident is counted,” he said. “For each resident that’s not counted, we lose a lot of very valuable federal funding.”

In order to complete the 2030 vision, Taylor said, he is committed to making Sterling Heights an active, vibrant and inclusive community for people of all races and religions.

“In the next 10 years, we are just going to be reinforcing that,” he said. “We are right on track.”

Sterling Heights Parks and Recreation Director Kyle Langlois also was excited about the Community Center’s opening as a new chapter for his department’s history. He estimated the building’s construction costs at $24 million.

“It’s going to open the doors for a lot of neat programming … for patrons to enjoy,” he said. “It’s going to start as soon as March 2, and there will be new programs and services.”

Langlois said his department plans to cut the ribbon on a new dog park by the tennis courts at Delia Park around April. He said the space is mostly done, but there is more the city needs to do, such as finalize the entrance gate.

“We’ll be opening (it) in early spring and looking forward to getting our four-legged residents out to enjoy the open park,” he said.

Langlois added that the city will transition away from new park projects under the 2016 Recreating Recreation plan and move toward maintaining those projects “and keeping our investment as nice and shiny and in as good condition as we possibly can.”

Over at the Sterling Heights Police Department, Chief Dale Dwojakowski said quality-of-life issues are at the top of his department’s list every year, including this one.

“Where people live, they want to feel safe and protected,” Dwojakowski said. “And in some cases, that means speeding cars. And in other cases, it means preventing your home from being broken into.”

Dwojakowski praised his force’s actions to arrest so-called porch pirate suspects Jan. 1, adding that police reportedly also caught someone breaking into a newly constructed home to steal building materials.

“It’s the ultimate violation if someone does something in or around your house — the feeling of betrayal when someone steals from your front porch,” he said.

Looking ahead, the chief predicted that the improvements to parks and trails will create a huge increase in people using them.

“That means extra patrols in the park, especially during the summer months, which includes foot patrols and mountain bike patrols,” he said. “And our residents will notice a definite visibility there.”

Outside the city government, the business community is also optimistic.

Stacy Ziarko, the president and CEO of the Sterling Heights Regional Chamber of Commerce, said her organization plans to make sure it is providing value to members, including programs and networking support to help them grow or expand. For instance, she said the chamber is holding a Jan. 29 seminar on business cybersecurity issues.

Ziarko also is looking forward to new restaurants and Lakeside Mall’s future.

“The Lakeside place is a huge opportunity, and we are grateful to be a part of that,” she said. “We know there are some restaurants popping up along the M-59 corridor (and) Van Dyke. Sterling Heights and our surrounding communities continue to grow.”

Find out more about Sterling Heights by visiting or by calling (586) 446-2489. Learn more about the Sterling Heights Regional Chamber of Commerce by visiting or by calling (586) 731-5400.