The planning efforts of one local community, and a business and official in another received awards at the Main Street Oakland County (MSOC) program’s Main Event 10th anniversary celebration.
The Walled Lake Downtown Development Authority (DDA) walked away with an award for its lakefront framework plan following the Friday, March 4 event.
The annual event enlists communities participating in the MSOC program to send in nominations for special projects. MSOC is an economic development program specifically targeted to provide technical assistance to the 30 traditional downtowns in the county.
The Walled Lake DDA sent in six nominations that weren’t recognized, but received an award for its lakefront area framework plan still under review.
“It was quite a surprise,” said Walled Lake DDA Executive Director Charlene Long. “We didn’t send in a nomination for our lakefront framework plan but Bob Donohue (principal planner for the Main Street Oakland County Program) announced there would be a special award and we were picked.”
The Walled Lake DDA also received an inscribed Pewabic Pottery vase it earned a few years ago at the 2008 award ceremony, when it won the Spirit Award.
“This was a permanent award, but not a new award,” Long said.
The DDA’s lakefront framework plan has been in the works since 2008. At that time planning consultant Beckett and Raeder, Inc., was contracted to assist the DDA in putting together a comprehensive plan.
The plan was completed in 2009 and may be incorporated into the city’s master plan currently being updated.
The lakefront framework plan identifies a number of ideas and concepts to roll out in the future, including parking, lighting, beautification efforts and structure development.
“There is a lot of vacant property down here with no concise plan,” Long said. “It helps when working with developers to give them some guidelines to enhance the area and also helps to lay out what the community wants here, like structures and parking.”
Long added that the comprehensive plan covers a multitude of concerns such as streetscapes, green spaces, beach improvements, landscaping, and sidewalks.
A joint meeting will be held on Tuesday, March 22 among DDA, City Council, Planning Commission, and Urban Design Committee members to discuss the plan and how it figures into the city’s master plan.
“We hope to get it done fairly quickly,” Long said.
Projects will commence as funds become available. Some of the costs are expected to be covered by developers.
“To develop a framework plan doesn’t mean you have to have the funding in place, but as money becomes available you can begin its implementation,” Long said.
The MSOC also honored a Highland Township business and a DDA official with a couple of awards at the 10th anniversary celebration held at the Glen Oaks Golf Club in Farmington Hills.
Fragments, a home, garden and gift shop located in the township’s historic Highland Station District, was honored with the MSOC’s Outstanding Downtown Investment Award.
“Transforming our historic building and opening the business, and then getting the fantastic support from our hometown and surrounding areas that we received was encouraging to our dream,” said Matt Barnes, who co-owns the “destination shop” with his wife Cheryl and with Carol and Gary Seghi. “And beyond that, to be nominated for such a prestigious award was not only exciting but very much appreciated. Now to have won we are even more moved to keep improving our site and hope that the positive feeling spreads to Highland Station and beyond.”
Melissa Dashevich, acting executive director of Highland’s DDA, also praised Fragments.
“They have done so much. The Highland DDA is so proud to have them in our community,” she said.
The DDA should also be proud to have Dashevich, as she was presented an individual award, as well — MSOC’s Guts and Determination Award.
“I was very surprised as I was not expecting it all,” Dashevich said. “It’s nice to be recognized, and I’m very appreciative of it.”