(Crystal A. Proxmire, Oct. 29, 2013)
“If you have a garden and a library you have everything you need.” The quote by the famous philosopher and politician Cicero was used by Berkley Mayor Phil O’Dwyer to explain what he loves about his city in his Oct. 25 State of the City Address.
“Urban gardening softens the edges of city living,” he said. “It reminds us that breakfast does not originate at Kroger and dinner does not originate from McDonalds.”
A community garden was approved in April, located near Coolidge and Harvard. There food is grown under the watchful eye of a manager and educator, and residents volunteer as well. Community gardening is just one of many growing developments that O’Dwyer is proud of. Home sales have gone up. Thirty-six businesses have moved in or expanded in the last year, and progress is being made on a new parking area for Downtown.
O’Dwyer also touted successes in the Parks and Recreation Department, including improvements to the ice arena, new playground equipment in the tot lot on Columbia, and a record-breaking year for the summer camp program. He was pleased with the department’s management of the eight public spaces under the Parks and Recreation’s supervision.
Berkley has also approved a new mobile app that will allow residents and business owners to access city services online. Help tickets will allow people to ask questions at times that work for them, and a feedback system will let them know how their request is being processed.
One sour note in an otherwise optimistic speech was the fact that Hiller’s grocery has announced it will be leaving. “Published reports offer varied and conflicting reasons,” O’Dwyer said. In spite of the loss, he’s confident that the space will fill up quickly.
Overall Berkley is looking bright. “It is my pleasant task to report to the residents of Berkley that our city is financially stable, our institutions are thriving and our future is bright,” he said. “The budget is balanced across all operating funds and we are reinvesting in the infrastructure of our city.”
“When we celebrate life in Berkley, we should remember it is the people who make it so,” he added.
The State of the City event was hosted by the Berkley Area Chamber of Commerce and had presentations by the Chamber, the Downtown Development Authority and officials from Huntington Woods. Berkley School Board President Dennis McDavid also spoke about points of pride from the District. Read more about McDavid’s remarks at http://oaklandcounty115.com/2013/10/27/ap-classes-rule-at-berkley-high-school/.
To learn more about the City of Berkley, visit http://www.berkleymich.org/.