Holly Village, Township and Schools United for Success

Holly Village, Township and Schools United for Success

(Crystal A. Proxmire, Feb. 19, 2018)

Holly, MI – After having his hat knocked to the stage by Village of Holly President Pro-Tem Debra Musgrave to the tune of Rocky theme music,  Holly Township President George Kullis hugged his play-boxing opponent and declared “The gloves are off.  The Village and the Township are working together.”

Congeniality has not always been the case in the furthest NW corner of the county where the Village sits within the Township and multiple governing bodies and entities have struggled with questions of shared services, control over parks and development etc.

But the times have been a’changin’ and the difference made by cooperation is clear as the Holly area celebrates successes such as increased home values, decreased downtown vacancy, increased permits for building and a rise in jobs and new business.

In 2015 the township had 20 applications for building permits.  In 2016 that number went up to 45. And in 2017 there were 204 applications.

The average home selling price in the Township is up to $185,312 and in the village it’s $125,579.

Kullis announced new home construction in the Riverside North, Preserves of Riverside and Holly Hills developments.

And the community can even boast about better roads, which Kullis was not shy to do.  In 2017 he tackled the problem of drainage on North Holly Road by having over 500 feet of culvert replaced.  He and the Township Board also approved funding that will add gravel to the roads in the NW quadrant of the township over the next three years.  Beyond that roads can be systematically filled in.  “Holly Township hasn’t put any gravel on roads in over 20 years,” Kullis said.  “And it shows.”

The ditches along the roads are also getting some love through cooperation with Oakland County CISMA – Invasive Species Management Association – to remove the tall grassy phrragmites that have overtaken many of the shoulders and ditches.

Other projects in the works include the lifting, stabilizing and planning of the Holly Heritage Farmstead at Hawley Farm.  Kullis talked about the vision of making the property a place where local groups can run a demonstration farm, complete with animals,  produce and displays about history.  He recognized Eagle Scouts Alex Weis and Adam Zill of Troop 43 who have taken on restoration projects at the farm site.

Waterworks Park is another project that has the Township and the Village talking.  The mill on the park site is not the original, and it needs much repair in order to be safe. Conversations continue over what can be done with the building and the park.

Musgrave touted development within the Village, including $4.8 million in new investment in 2017 which brought 10 new businesses, 17 full time jobs and 7 part time jobs.

“If a business becomes vacant it doesn’t stay that way very long,” Musgrave said “There’s a line to get in.”

The Holly Area Chamber of Commerce and Downtown Holly have welcomed new leadership, and volunteers are connecting and working hard through Mainstreet Teams.

Holly Area Schools Superintendent Dave Nuce, who is retiring at the end of the year, also spoke at the Holly State of the Community event.  “You know you have phenomenal kids. They’re nice.  They’re talented. They’re tolerant of each other,” he said.  “We don’t have many problems with kids in Holly and behavior.”

There are about 3,300 students in the district which spans 124 square miles.  Each day 1,836 of them ride the bus.

Nuce talked about repairs needed at the school buildings, including the high school which was constructed 20 years ago.  The District has asked voters for millages twice and failed, but they will be trying again in November.

“The kids don’t live extravagantly.  They will take care of any investment you make in them,” he said.  “You won’t find dents.  You won’t find graffiti. You won’t find chips in the paint. But if you look beyond that you will find a boiler that needs to be replaced.”

Students provided the entertainment between speeches, and Secretary of State Ruth Johnson also took the stage.

“I’ve never seen a more united Village and Township, and that makes you so much stronger,” she said.


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