(Crystal A. Proxmire, Feb. 23, 2017)
Madison Heights, MI – A year ago the “City of Progress” had a power problem. In 2015, 1,689 customers lost electrical services six times or more times during the year. The culprits were aging infrastructure and falling tree branches. It took a bit of persistence, but DTE invested in making the system better and in 2016 the number of customers with six or more outages was zero.
This was just one of many accomplishments touted by Madison Heights Mayor Brian Hartwell at the State of the City Address held Thursday at MRA Mobile Experience. The event, hosted by the Madison-Hazel Park Chamber of Commerce featured updates from both cities.
Another bright infrastructure improvement is the replacement of 376 mercury vapor street lights to energy efficient LED bulbs. There was also the announcement of a $2.4 million grant for televising the storm drains and removing roots, as well as $1.4 million in federal funding to repair Stevenson Hwy.
But it wasn’t just the infrastructure that has been illuminating Madison Heights, and much of Mayor Hartwell’s speech focused on the investment the city has in its people.
“I want to thank our staff who makes our city a safe and attractive place to live and work. We have one of the best teams in local government. Madison Heights has 143 full time employees and just as many part-timers, and hundreds of volunteers,” he said.
firefighter/paramedics. They also assigned an officer to the FBI Violent Crimes Taskforce.
“Our residents also contribute valuable service to our community. Immigration attorney Chelsea Zuzindlak held free legal consultations at the Library resulting in at least one family gaining asylum status under fear of murder back home in the Middle East,” Mayor Hartwell said. “Chelsea’s service illustrates how Madison Heights has been a beacon of hope for generations of immigrants.
“One in six, or 17%, of our residents are foreign born, three times the State average. For example, students at Lamphere’s Hiller Elementary speak 20 languages and we have 75 Asian owned businesses making Madison Heights Michigan’s Chinatown. I’m asking City Council to continue our tradition of diversity and inclusion by formally declaring Madison Heights a “Welcoming City.”
Business is booming in Madison Heights. Hartwell showed a video of “things to do” in the city, which included Red Oaks Nature Center, Lazer Warp, Modern Skate, Planet Rock, Bambu Desserts and Drinks, Pet Bistro, Sushi Galley, Jenny’s Salon, Studio One Yoga, Saigon Diamond, Animal Welfare Society, CK Gift Shop and Fruit Market, Moosejaw, Modern Creamery, Telway and Leo’s Country Oven.
A monthly “Entrepreneur Lounge” gives business owners a chance to connect. The City is part of Tech248 and is working on becoming a One Stop Ready Community through Oakland County in 2017.
And the City is making development easier. “To further market Madison Heights as a pro-business community, City Council streamlined the business licensing process by allowing administrative approval by the City Clerk. This action allows businesses to open sooner, puts our residents to work earlier, and helps us attract and retain businesses – a best practice approach that saves time and money,” Mayor Hartwell said.
“Another program making our City ready for business is the Michigan Advanced Manufacturing Collaboration (MAMC) within the Madison District Public Schools. Madison has launched a state-of-the-art manufacturing training facility that teaches students and adults the fundamentals of machining. Every participating student has earned industry certification, with 75% of them getting jobs right out of the gate. The school plans to expand and is officially listed as a MI Works! Training Site,” he said.
And in 2016, the City brought back the Student Council Program which gives high school students the opportunity to participate in City government.
To learn more about the City of Madison Heights visit http://www.madison-heights.org/.
For more on the Madison Heights-Hazel Park Chamber visit http://madisonheightschamber.com/.