Ferndale Mayor Shares Challenges and Successes at Senior Town Hall (video)

Dale Vigliarolo in progress TOPhelaine-zack-candidate-ad-topFerndale Mayor Shares Challenges and Successes at Senior Town Hall (video)

(Crystal A. Proxmire, Oct. 18, 2016)Rust Belt Ad late Fridays

Ferndale, MI – “The state of our city is really really good,” said Ferndale Mayor Dave Coulter as he addressed the Ferndale Seniors in the annual Mayor’s Town Hall on Wednesday.  “Ferndale is on the map. This is a place that people want to move to. They want to come and visit. They want to open a business here.  If anything the issue is trying to figure out how to accommodate all of the people that want to come to Ferndale to live and visit and work.  And that is a really good problem to have.”

Addressing the needs of those that want to join the Ferndale community has been a focus of the administration over at least the past year.  The housing shortage has been a big issue. As home values have increased, it’s been more challenging for people who want to live in the community to find a home or apartment

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Coulter shared the news that several developments are in progress, including mixed use buildings at the old Save-A-Lot site, and the old United Methodist location.  Ferndale Schools, which are a separate entity from the City of Ferndale, have also sold two properties in the city to developers for new housing.  Taft and Wilson/University High School will become homes, but the city-owned parks near them will remain.

PARKING

Plus plans are in the works for a parking deck to handle the vehicle traffic that comes to Downtown Ferndale.

“We are going to do something about parking downtown,” Mayor Coulter said, “A recommendation to build some sort of deck is coming later this month so you’ll hear more Ferndale Schools AD _01about that soon. But we are going to build a parking deck. But let me say something because we’re not going to build just a stand-alone deck that is only for parking. The other issues that we have in downtown that we’re very concerned about and we want to make sure we keep an eye on is we don’t want our downtown to just be bars and restaurants.  I think most of use would agree on that. We want to make sure that we are doing everything that we can to encourage retail, stores and shops and things.  Now, we can’t control, we can’t demand, that a hardware store move downtown. We can’t tell people what businesses to open, but we can try to encourage it. So whenever we have development projects downtown we look for opportunities to add shopping, retail and office.  That’s why on the Save-A-Lot property the first floor is going to be all commercial and retail. We’re not going garden16_jeannie_davisto allow you to just make that all restaurants and bars. The same thing with some sort of a deck. It’ll be what we call multi-use, it will have retail as part of it.”

Coulter also explained that the city has tried to limit the number of new liquor licenses.  “We’ve made it a lot more difficult and a lot more expensive.  We didn’t want to say ‘no more, we’re going to put a ban on it’ because the town is growing and changing and we felt that too prohibitive.  But what we did is said if you’re going to come in here with that kind of a model, we’re going to put more of the financial burden on you to pay for that.  And as a result, what we’ve seen happen is exactly what we hoped would happen.  We’ve seen a lot less applications for liquor licenses.”Go Comedy Ad blueberry

The challenge of finding balance between retail and restaurants is bigger than just Ferndale.  “This is a major challenge by the way.  This is not an easy problem to solve,” Mayor Coulter said.  “There are larger forces going on in our country that we don’t necessarily have control over.  People spend their dollars the way they want to spend them.”  He noted that more people are buying items online, and that more people are eating out instead of cooking at home.  Additionally restaurants are generally more profitable than retail stores, so they can pay more in rent and have a better chance of being long-term tenants.

POLICE

Another topic that city leaders have been looking at over the past year hasbaby modern natural 02 ad been policing.  Coulter talked about incidents nationwide that have brought attention to the dynamics between the police and the public.

“America is changing and people’s relationship with the police department is changing.  One of the reasons I think that happened is because about 15 or 20 years ago when the courts said that police officers don’t have to live in the communities they serve.  I don’t necessarily disagree with that.  I don’t think it’s legal to tell someone where they have to live. But the unintended effect of that was a lot of our police officers don’t live here anymore and we don’t know them like we used to know them.  They used to be our neighbors and our friends and the people we went to church with, to school with, and we just don’t know them as well anymore.

“What we’ve said as a city is we want to take a look at this thing called a community policing model.  It’s what the President recommends.  It’s what the experts recommend.  And it’s a fancy way of saying… police officers should be spending more of their time  in the community, working with community groups, getting to know residents on a personal level and maybe a little less time just writing tickets and enforcing the law to help us reestablish that relationship that used to be there…Judy_Palmer30years

“I believe the more our police department and individually our police officers are known by you, the less likelihood there is that if an incident does happen here… the more likely residents will be able to say ‘we like our police,’ ‘we trust our police.”

He talked about the creation of a full time Community Engagement Specialist position in the department to help connect with the community.

Other topics in the hour-long discussion included improvements in public housing, the fate of Como’s Restaurant, an update on the Motorama Inn court battle, and the city’s investment in paving roads and improving neighborhood parks.

Learn more about the City of Ferndale at www.ferndalemi.gov.

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