Mayor Hartwell Says Madison Heights Future is Bright
(Crystal A. Proxmire, March 1, 2018)
Madison Heights, MI – The tables were adorned with construction paper sunshine faces with smiles and sunglasses as the Mayors of Madison Heights and Hazel Park gave the annual State of the City speeches last week at the Hazel Park Recreation Center.
“The future of Madison Heights so bright, we gotta wear shades,” said Mayor Brian Hartwell.
The successes of the past year have been numerous for the “city of progress.” Among them was the E-Lounge group, a cadre of entrepreneurs who meet monthly for education and support.  “One of our success stories is Clark’s Fabrication. This husband and wife team from Madison Heights worked with our Economic Development tea to find the perfect space for their custom furniture company- a 4,000 square foot industrial building. The Clark’s custom work is sought after by the hippest businesses in Michigan. Their clients include Toast Restaurant, Hibachi Buffet and Lovers Only Burger Restaurant. In their own words ‘We love our community and can’t wait to grow with the artistic momentum coming to Madison Heights.”
I-Connect is another program that helps businesses.  “I-Connect is essentially a match-making service: introducing industrial owners to potential sales with neighboring businesses.  Need a new part? Don’t go out of town because chances are a Madison Heights company manufactures it,” Mayor Hartwell said.
The City has also partnered with Oakland County to become a One Stop Ready Community.  “You want to know how fast you can open a business in Madison Heights?  You can visit City Hall to apply for an initial business license, and get administratively approved without having to wait for days or weeks for City Council review. If you are planning a large development project, our Economic Development team will meet with you early on, at no cost, to show you exactly what incentives our City will offer to get you to open your doors faster,” he said.
Since Jan. 2017, Madison Heights had issued 94 new Certificates of Occupancy, totally $4.6 million in investment.
Mayor Hartwell also talked about the plans to build the Downtown.  “Work is already underway to feature our 11 Mile and John R. commercial corridor. Why 11 Mile?  It is the historic heart of our City. One look at aerial photos you will see why 11 Mile shas the greatest potential for commercial success: densely spaced businesses with zero setback and thousands of residents within walking distance in all directions,” he said.  “Every other main road has less housing and is saddled with vast seas of parking lots.  Unlike other cities that plan on spending tens of millions of dollars to build downtowns in empty fields or parking lots, we already have the infrastructure.  Let’s not waste taxpayer resources or staff time forcing development where the market does not call for it.”
Hartwell also said that the City must “seize upon the economic potential of our diversity.”
“I want to thank City Council for declaring Madison Heights a ‘Welcoming City’ last year,” he said. “Whether our immigrants are from Eastern Europe or East Asia they are living the American Dream by opening businesses and places of worship, employing thousands of workers and driving economic growth.”
Also in 2017 City Council implemented a goal to replace any trees removed during construction.  “Never again will the City clear cut neighborhood trees without replanting,” he said. “As they say, the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago; the second best time is now.
Hartwell also thanked the many groups and organizations that make Madison Heights the community it is, and applauded the training of seven Police Officers and on Dispatcher and the upgrade of Madison Heights ambulances from Basic Life Support level to Advanced Life Support Level.
Looking towards the 2018-2019 budget cycle, Mayor Hartwell is excited to “keep our budget talks citizen-focused,” with Council “studying quality of life goals to enhance our offerings to residents in parks, recreation, the library and the senior center,” he said.
To learn more about the City of Madison Heights, check out their website at https://www.madison-heights.org/  The story of Hazel Park’s State of the City will be posted within the coming week.