Feasibility study to “daylight” the Clinton River underway in Pontiac

Real estate, development and planning professionals who are participants in the Larson Center for Leadership at the Urban Land Institute (ULI) Michigan will study the feasibility of “daylighting” the Clinton River in downtown Pontiac. A 3,000-foot stretch of the Clinton River is enclosed in two 10-foot x 10-foot concrete conduits. The report, which will be produced without expense to taxpayers, is expected by June.
Oakland County’s Department of Economic Development & Community Affairs, the City of Pontiac, and the Pontiac Downtown Business Association will work with the ULI participants to determine whether the benefits of daylighting the Clinton River outweigh the costs.
“The Clinton River has had no presence in downtown Pontiac for the past 50 years,” Deputy County Executive Matthew Gibb said in a news conference today. “Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson supports studying whether redevelopment of the riverfront in downtown Pontiac would enhance current and future business opportunities.”
Daylighting the Clinton River would be part of an overall strategy to strengthen downtown Pontiac businesses. As a member of Patterson’s Main Street Oakland County program, more than 95% of the business space in downtown Pontiac is occupied; Pontiac received a recent economic boost with the $20 million Lafayette Place development; and the city’s current livability study is exploring how to drive traffic from the loop into downtown Pontiac.
“Uncapping the Clinton River would be the icing on the cake that puts downtown Pontiac on the comeback trail,” Pontiac Mayor Leon Jukowski said.
ULI Chairperson William Watch said the study participants will examine the long-term impact of daylighting the Clinton River. “The participants in our Larson Center for Leadership will ask how the Clinton River in downtown Pontiac can be daylighted to serve as a tool for sustainable economic development and urban revitalization that contributes to long term economic stability for the city,” he said.
During the 1940s and 50s, there were a number of severe floods in downtown Pontiac adjacent to the river. City leaders back then petitioned the Oakland County Water Resources Commissioner to take action to prevent future flooding. In 1963, the Clinton River was enclosed in two 10-foot x 10-foot concrete conduits to alleviate the serious flooding. The Phoenix Center stands over the top of the conduits, covering about 20 percent of the buried segment.
For more information about ULI, go to Michigan.ULI.org. To learn more about business attraction in Oakland County, click on AdvantageOakland.com. For details about the City of Pontiac, go to Pontiac.MI.US
About ULI Michigan
The mission of the Urban Land Institute is to provide leadership in the responsible use of land and in creating and sustaining thriving communities worldwide. As the preeminent, multidisciplinary real estate forum, the Urban Land Institute facilitates the open exchange of ideas, information and experience among local, national and international industry leaders and policy makers dedicated to creating better communities. ULI Michigan, the Michigan District Council of the Urban Land Institute, has over 270 members throughout the state of Michigan, and offers a variety of annual programs and events to both members and prospective members.