Troy mayor touts city and gives key to new resident

By: Terry Oparka | Troy Times | Published April 1, 2015

 Troy Mayor Dane Slater presents a video clip of himself digitized as part of his State of the City address at the Somerset Inn March 25.

Troy Mayor Dane Slater presents a video clip of himself digitized as part of his State of the City address at the Somerset Inn March 25.

Photos by Erin Sanchez

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Troy City Manager Brian Kischnick has been around a lot of elected officials and mayors during his career, and that’s what he told the crowd who came to hear Troy Mayor Dane Slater’s State of the City address at the Somerset Inn March 25.

“He’s the best mayor I’ve ever worked with,” Kischnick said.

“I quickly realized we have the same management style. It involves teamwork,” Slater said of Kischnick. “He was the right guy at the right time, anytime.”

Slater said that Kischnick’s energy is contagious and credited former mayors Jeanne Stine and Louise Schilling for showing him how to be a mayor.

“They taught me so much — what a real mayor should be — and set the foundation and made it easy for all of us.” 

Slater also lauded Troy City Attorney Lori Grigg Bluhm and said that she and her team of attorneys are an “immeasurable asset to our city.”

The state of the city, Slater said, is “outstanding.”

He praised the focus groups that examined and identified city priorities, the Troy Roads Rock program and Interaction Troy, a customer service initiative for the city of Troy employees.

“I am honored to stand with this team of professionals, City Council, city manager, city attorney and staff that have come together to make it possible for me to say that the state of the city is outstanding,” he said.

Slater called to the podium James Robertson, a new Troy resident who, because he had no car, regularly walked more than 20 miles to work from his former home in Detroit to his job in Rochester Hills. Robertson shared his story with local media, and a GoFundMe.com campaign to raise money so Robertson could end his long walks to work went viral.

Before Robertson could spend any of the $350,000 raised, Suburban Ford of Sterling Heights agreed Feb. 6 to give Robertson a free 2015 Ford Taurus SEL, valued at about $35,000, and paid the taxes on the vehicle.

“We are so honored to have James as our special guest today, along with UBS businessman Blake Pollock,” Slater said.

Pollock noticed Robertson on his walks and brought his story to the media. Slater also acknowledged Wayne State University student Evan Leedy’s efforts on Robertson’s behalf. Leedy, who started the GoFundMe.com campaign, could not attend the event.

“We’re proud that James chose Troy as his new home — in many ways thanks to our strong sense of community and safety,” Slater said. “Through compassion and kindness for a complete stranger, Blake and Evan have helped James, who has a new address in Troy, a new car, new friends and a different life. Welcome to Troy. … It’s my pleasure to present you with the key to our city.” 

“All those years I walked down Crooks, I got to know the city in so many ways,” Robertson said. “In so many ways, Troy was the easy choice. I’ll be the best resident you ever had.”

He added that he planned to get his exercise in “the batting cages in Waterford.”  

Slater went on to praise the Troy School District and the city’s safest-city designation, financial reporting awards, AAA bond rating, pathways project, opening of the Troy Intermodal Transit Center, and 15 for Fifteen video project highlighting businesses along the Maple corridor.

Slater’s address featured video clips that used a digitized version of himself to spotlight city venues and programs, clips of the 15 for Fifteen video project and clips from the “Dave and Dane Show,” in which he and Councilman Dave Henderson spotlight in videos what the city has to offer.

Slater talked about the strength of the city’s diversity and that more than 80 languages are spoken in the city’s homes. He mentioned some of the activities the city has planned to celebrate Troy’s 60th anniversary.

“Moving forward, you have my personal commitment that the city of Troy will continue to build upon our many strengths to keep Troy a leader in the region,” Slater said.

Eileen Heasley, past president of the Rotary Club of Troy, said that the club canceled its monthly meeting to sponsor and attend Slater’s State of the City address.

“It was outstanding,” she said. “I’m very proud of our city.”  

Staff Writer Eric Czarnik contributed to this report.

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