Ferndale DDA Director Barry Hicks Leaving for Madison Heights Position

Ferndale DDA Director Barry Hicks Leaving for Madison Heights Position

(Crystal A. Proxmire, March 15, 2019)

Ferndale, MI – Ferndale DDA Director Barry Hicks will be leaving his position as Ferndale Downtown Development Authority (DDA) Director to work as the Community & Economic Development Director for Madison Heights.

Hicks came to Ferndale in 2015 after previously working as Economic Development Manager for Sterling Heights, and Planning Director in Jackson and in Albion.

“Barry Hicks is exactly who the DDA needed in 2015.  He facilitated the DDA moving in a new direction that fortified our relationship with the City and Library.   We have enjoyed working with Barry and wish him the best in his new role,” said Ferndale DDA Board Chair Jacki Smith, who is also the proprietor of The Candlewick Shoppe and Coventry Creations.


Hicks will remain with Ferndale until there is an interim ready to take the wheel.  “Madison Heights has been very understanding that I have a contract with Ferndale that requires advance notice before departure.  And I would like to finish a few things up here before I go, such as their budget and Capital Improvement Plan.  I want the Ferndale DDA to be in the best place it can be before I depart,” Hicks said.

“As a board, our primary focus is on supporting the businesses during The dot construction and finishing our CIP (Capital Improvement Plan),” Smith said “As this is a very dynamic time in the city and the downtown, we are discussing the next steps with our DDA and City leadership team.  Everyone on the board is committed to being very mindful of who will step into the leadership role at the DDA as in interim and a permanent role… We do not have a solid date yet as Barry is committed to finishing the budget and CIP for Ferndale.   We appreciate his commitment to seeing this process through.”

Downtown Ferndale is growing as new apartments, retail, and office space are being built as well as The dot mixed use parking structure.  “There is a so much happening in Ferndale in the coming 18 months,” Smith said, including new public art, sustainability efforts, and a Woodward Avenue Audit starting in late 2019 that will look at pedestrian and non-motorized safety and public transit.

“Ferndale is a National Main Street award winning downtown that is an integral part of the community.   We have The dot, an amazing eclectic business community, engaged stakeholders and a wonderful partnership with the city, library and chamber.  This is a great place to be and enticing challenge for the right person,” she said.


Hicks is excited about the move.   “Madison Heights made a great impression on me upon first meeting their management team.  They seemed very engaged and enthusiastic about the future of the City and they want to get creative and make some changes for the better going forward.  That kind of energy is contagious and I really liked it!” he said.  “I don’t know how many people know this about me, but I was a City Planning & Economic Development Director for 10+ years before I came to Ferndale.  I think the Community Development Director position in Madison Heights is a perfect fit for my skill set and I look forward to working with them to make contributions to their continued success.”

Madison Heights is in the process of updating their City Master Plan and Parks Master Plan.  They also recently promoted Melissa Marsh to City Manager.


“Our residents have expressed a clear desire for modern redevelopment. Madison Heights, besides 11 Mile which has potential for a downtown, was developed in the era of the strip mall, suburban sprawl, and large parking lots. No more. We have a new downtown. We are at the starting blocks of a being metro Detroit’s Chinatown. We are embracing the medical marijuana industry. The development ideas and assumptions of the the 20th century must be killed and buried,” said Madison Heights Mayor Hartwell.  “Barry Hicks brings a fresh perspective with just the right amount of experience to guide us through redevelopment. In the past few months we have retooled our administrative leadership at city hall with a new city manager, new finance director, and new economic director. The three people we hired have a great opportunity to reshape our city. I welcome Barry to the City of Progress.”

Mayor Hartwell shared several of the City’s successes in his recent state of the City address, including both retail and industrial additions to the city’s business base.  He also touted the city’s welcoming of medical marijuana businesses, and the potential for joining Main Street Oakland County.

More information:

Downtown Ferndale

City of Madison Heights

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