Wixom is the proud recipient of the 2011 Keep Michigan Beautiful President’s Award.
City Manager Mike Dornan accepted the honor at the Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park in Grand Rapids on Tuesday, Nov. 1.
“Wixom is very proud and honored to receive the Keep Michigan Beautiful President’s Award,” said Mayor Kevin Hinkley, who attributed Wixom receiving the award to the dedication, hard work, vision and creativity of city volunteers, staff and residents.
The President’s Award was presented to Wixom for the vast improvements at the Village Center Area (VCA).
What was once an underdeveloped and blighted block of acreage has been transformed into a family-oriented downtown complete with shopping, dining, a performance gazebo, and public park.
The VCA is also home to the Wixom municipal complex and library. Wedged between the two municipal buildings is a reflecting pond featuring a waterfall. Dotting the streetscape are wrought iron furniture and decorative street lighting.
“The VCA is a work in progress,” Dornan said. “There was a lot of momentum at the start and a number of people worked on it.”
Community members, the Planning Commission, the Downtown Development Authority, and the Zoning Board of Appeals all had a hand in developing the VCA, along with the city administration.
“We had to buy the property and package the property through the Land Acquisition Fund,” Dornan noted. “Once we did that, we asked the community what it should look like and then started the design work.”
The majority of the community voted for a traditional look, according to Dornan.
Incorporating Sibley Park in the blueprint was a key reason why the award was bestowed on Wixom.
“The VCA is a multi-use public place to enjoy yourself and includes an un-isolated park,” Dornan said. “All subdivision parks designed at the time were a drive away, while Sibley Park is close in proximity — placing it within the VCA reduces the possibility for vandalism.”
Keep Michigan Beautiful, Inc. is a non-profit educational organization. Its mission is to “to promote, to provide education, and to recognize beautification and restoration projects throughout the state of Michigan.”