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Mayor McDaniel Touts Auburn Hills Optimism in State of the City Speech

Mayor McDaniel Touts Auburn Hills Optimism in State of the City Speech

(Mark H. Stowers, March 2, 2021)

Auburn Hills, MI – Normally held at Baker College, the 2021 Auburn Hills State of the Community address happened virtually this year. A video opening looked lightly at the joys of virtual meetings and remote learning, and then several Auburn Hills based businesses gave statements about their services and commitment to the community.

Mayor Kevin McDaniel thanked fellow council members and city employees for their creative and hard work and noted that “2020 was different in many ways.” But he pointed out community leaders had to lead through the pandemic to help recognize and meet the challenges and “face them head on and emerge stronger.”

With new challenges ahead, Mayor McDaniel, explained he was proud of how his team and city workers met all of the challenges and found innovative ways to proceed. Police officers, firefighters, public works employees and all of our professional staff continue to support the community at all levels. All city workers stepped up to ensure city services would not skip a beat in 2020 and beyond.

“Critical services – lifeline services were provided each day despite changes in the way they were delivered. These included meals and transportation to our seniors so they could get to important medical appointments,” Mayor McDaniel said. “Other things that might not come to mind that are monitored by essential employees are water, sewer, roads and all municipal facilities. Every department is linked to the other to make sure we provide the necessary services.”

Mayor McDaniel explained that the city complied with all government directives to care for employees and residents. He did note that 2020 “wasn’t all gloom and doom” and offered condolences to those who lost loved ones to the virus. He then pointed out positives for the city this past year.

“In June, a generous donation from Fiat Chrysler to the Auburn Hills Community Foundation made it possible to purchase and distribute food to 215 senior citizen households. Food boxes were assembled and filled with non-perishable items as trail mix, cereal and nutrition drinks.”

He pointed out DPS workers and Pauline Beckett of the Auburn Hills Senior service department who organized the volunteer food distribution. Other community events the mayor highlighted included several outdoor, virtual and drive thru events including Cool Off with the Cops – a summer neighborhood event where officers visited and handed out ice cream.

The city also welcomed the new Speedway Gas Station and Convenience Store this past year – an upgrade to their existing station. An investment of $7.1 million dollars. A mixed-use development, Trailway Commons, was approved and the $12 million dollar project will include a restaurant with drive thru and outside seating, commercial office center and condo complex. It should be completed in 2022.

The former Palace of Auburn Hills was imploded this past year and the Schostak Brothers are working to develop the site. Exalt Energy, a lithium-ion cell pack and system development, came to the city this past year to set up shop. The MSU Federal Credit Union broke ground in October after being delayed from March. Project Worldwide Global Headquarters got the ok to build some new office space, light assembly and warehouse space. The building should be completed by December of 2021.

Outdoor activities including the new Hawk Woods Park and Campground opening for indoor and outdoor recreational activities. The Riverside Park welcomed a play structure and pavilion that were added to the park replacing a deteriorating structure. Funds for the project were donated by Fiat Chrysler.

The Kayak Point Park project received a grant to have this park created along the Clinton River. Tennis courts were reconstructed for the city as well. They dated back to 1980. He noted 100’s of hours of pickleball is also played there.

The mayor pointed out the city’s small businesses that worked their way through the pandemic.

“Downtown Auburn Hills continues to remain a top priority for city council and the Downtown Development Authority continues to make great strides towards becoming a select community with Main Street Oakland County.”

The city joined the program in 2016 to upgrade the downtown area. The DDA created Reopening Kits along with Oakland County.

“These kits contained critical PPE supplies,” he said. “In order to operate safely.”

The city also opened a “pop up public square” to provide an area for dining for local restaurants. Riverside Park also included Café Seating to help as well.

New businesses that came in before the pandemic hit included Quickly, a café specializing in several teas. The Blue Skies Brewery opened in May for carryout and curbside with 16 taps. Housing developments continued including Fountain Circle, The Mill and The Jordan 3250 have opening dates in 2021.

With the city continuing to grow with both residents and businesses, city council and city leaders developed the Safe City initiative.

“This program is offered to any business, school, church or group to bridge the gap between police response to any emergency,” Mayor McDaniel said. “There is no charge for this service.”

The initiative includes each organization working with police to provide emergency contact information, having police know exactly where to respond to enter buildings.

“Training is also provided to all participants in the program.”

He noted that the community had many unsung heroes during the pandemic in 2020.

“We’re all in this together. This pandemic caused everyone to rethink how we conduct our lives,” the mayor said. “Hopefully soon, gloves, masks and hand sanitizer won’t be as necessary as they were in 2020. Heading into 2021, it’s important to remain optimistic. One of the important messages to take away is Auburn Hills remains open for business. We are as committed to you today as we have been in the past. We remain committed to your growth and prosperity into the future. With Auburn Hills, you don’t just get a local government address. You get a partner who is focused on your success.”

Mayor McDaniel closed by honoring the passing of Auburn Hill’s resident and city leader, Clarence Bennett. He worked with the Tax and Finance Authority directing funds to the facilities and infrastructure. His military service was also called out and recognized. The mayor noted that the city’s continued message during the pandemic and beyond is still a key focus.

“Be Patient. Be Kind. Be United. Be well and most importantly take care of each other.”

To watch the full address, go to: https://youtu.be/awEeA2IvTVY.

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