Awards, ribbon-cuttings, and recognition: Southfield’s planning department on a roll

The City of Southfield’s Planning Department has achieved a number of acknowledgments and milestones recently.

To start, its Northland Mall Redevelopment Strategy received an award from the Michigan Chapter of the American Planning Association. At its annual planning conference in Grand Rapids, the Michigan APA recognized the redevelopment plan with its Outstanding Planning Project: Economic Development Planning award.

The plan offers a well-defined vision for the vacant 114-acre property, one that incorporates five sub-areas of development complemented by green infrastructure and pedestrian-friendly pathways. Rather than settle for big box stores in the center and fast food restaurants that line the roads, the redevelopment plan calls for an innovative technology district, a mixed-use lifestyle district, and much more.

“This has been a proactive approach to coming up with a vision for redevelopment, rather than a reactive one,” says Terry Croad, the city’s Director of Planning.

“It helps the city to steer the ship of what we’d like to see.”

The city has completed the environmental clean-up phase, and demolition of some of the buildings has already begun. Croad expects full demolition of the mall in 2019 and for some construction to start by the end of that year.

In other news, Southfield also recently celebrated the ribbon-cutting of its Red Pole Park, an art installation and outdoor room along its Northwestern Highway Pathway and Greenway. The park features dozens of red poles that can be seen from half a mile away.

As if that weren’t enough, the city was recently awarded a $455,378 Transportation Alternatives Program grant from SEMCOG, which will help extend the Northwestern Highway Pathway and Greenway. City Center and Lawrence Technological University provided matching grant funds for the project.

Last but not least, Croad was honored at the Michigan APA conference for his 30-year membership in the APA.

“It was a nice honor. You look back, and you’re surprised you’ve been working for 31 years. It’s a combination of endurance, luck, and passion,” Croad says.

“I hope to make it to 50 years. But it’s nice to pause for a moment and reflect.”

Got a development news story to share? Email MJ Galbraith here or send him a tweet @mikegalbraith.