Administrative Professionals’ Day is today and it should not go by without taking the time to recognize the outstanding customer services provided by the Meridian Township Administrative Professionals. Not only do they play a vital role in our day-to-day operations, but they are the real backbone of our day-to-day customer services.
Reflecting back on 2015 I recall many instances where our team members went Above and Beyond the day-to-day job duties. There are too many examples to mention each one, but there are a few that fully express how the entire team came together with a positive attitude and positive leadership.
Over the past few months our TEAM has drafted a 2016 Action Plan and Strategic Plan including Township-wide projects. The Township Board has spent hours vetting the goals and objectives to create a unified blueprint for 2016. I want to give credit to the board and staff for their hard work,passion anddetermination put into this massive undertaking. We have not seen anything like this yet and we look forward to our commitment that our efforts are in line with continuing to make Meridian a Community of Choice. Continue reading “2016 Township Plan”→
Due to the many days of rainfall we’ve had, the reconstruction of our municipal parking lot project has fallen behind schedule. The high level of accumulation we’ve experienced has caused failing drainage structures and poor soil conditions, putting us further behind.
Today, we welcome another new business to the Township, Premier Dance Company in Haslett who is hosting a grand opening tonight. We’re happy to be a community of choice for businesses and we’re happy to see these openings as a sign of the economy going up and thriving in Meridian Township. We appreciate the investments new and long-time established businesses have made in redeveloping sites that were vacant, signing new lease agreements where space was once vacant, as well as upgrading and renovating existing sites. Continue reading “Pardon our Dust: Township Improvements”→
I am proud to be an Honorary Chair of this year’s Parkinson’s Walk-a-Thon for the Michigan Parkinson Foundation. I think most of us know someone who is living with Parkinson’s. I give my sole to Parkinson’s on Saturday, August 8th in honor of Ron Momany of St. Joseph. Ron was the Finance Director/Clerk in St. Joseph, and I had the pleasure of working with him in the mid-90’s. Ron was diagnosed with Parkinson’s around 10 years ago. He is not alone in his journey and I invite you to walk with us this Saturday to show support.Continue reading “I Give My Heart and Sole: Parkinson’s 5K Walk and Run”→
I remember my first job when I was 10 years old. For three summers in a row, I worked at Gee Farms in Stockbridge picking green beans. This job really taught me the value of hard work. The more beans you picked, the more money you made. My second job as a Dishwasher at Bill Knapps taught me the value of good customer service and loyalty to the company. I worked there for 9 years throughout high school and college and it was more than the free birthday cake that kept me there, it was a love for the company and work ethic development. Continue reading “Meridian Welcomes Open Doors of Opportunity”→
Building a Solid Foundation Behind Every Municipal Project
As I enter my 30th year in municipal service and look forward to the projects Meridian is on track to complete this year, I tend to reflect on the numerous people I’ve worked with and the long lasting relationships that have been built over the years.
It’s the relationships I’ve made that stand out above everything else. Collectively working on projects not only contributes to a sense of pride and community placemaking, but I’ve been very fortunate to have been able to build long lasting relationships from those projects. Building community spirit far outweighs the projects themselves. When we work together and build together, the gain is significant. Right now, in Meridian, we are doing just that with the Okemos Road Redevelopment Project, the New Central Fire Station, and the new Pedestrian Pathway Bridge over the Red Cedar connecting the community together.
I treasure what is to come in Meridian and the relational opportunities while serving here.
When I think about my former days, so many relationships stand out to me like working with former Jackson City Manager Bill Buchanan who gave me an opportunity to learn, listen and grow from my mistakes. While Bill and I have both moved on in our careers, our relationship has remained steadfast. Recently, Bill invited me to his retirement in Kansas from his position as Sedgwick County Manager. It touched my heart that he remembers our time together.
I also think about the early 90’s when I served as City Manager in Cedar Springs where my family formed a lifelong friendship with former Mayor Linda Hunt. Today, we keep in touch through Facebook, but it seems like yesterday when she attended the most important day of my life; my wedding on January 2, 1993. In 2012, I was honored to be asked to help Cedar Springs find a new city manager.
While in St. Joseph for 17 years, many valuable projects were completed. But it is the relationships, not the bricks and mortar, which added to a solid foundation for my career, and one in which I cherish as I build new relationships in Meridian Township.
As my family and I attend graduation open houses and weddings this summer, it is the relationships newly formed and long lasting that are a testament to the true foundation behind the projects for each of the communities I’ve served and am currently serving in Meridian. We have so many wonderful projects in Meridian, and I look forward to continuing to build more relationships on top of the ones that have already begun. I want to thank the hospitality the Meridian Team received while in St. Joseph during our annual team building; Laurie Moore, Bonnie Lewis, Christopher Heugel, Ken Kaszubowski and Carla Sykora, Janet and Phil Dykstra, Chris Cook, Mayor Mike Garey, Lisa Czanko Bartoszek, Retired President of Whirlpool Bill Marohn, Director of Global Communications for Whirlpool Corporate Headquarters, Jeff Noel and last but not least, St. Joseph Today Executive Director, Jill Stone.
The interest shown for the downtown Okemos property where The MARC and former Central Fire Station structures sit on Okemos Road has drawn considerable interest. Given the amount of attention the site has received, the Township Board will be keeping the vision of the Township in mind when considering developers for the site. Making positive changes to the area will require keeping that vision at the forefront while also selecting a developer who is financially stable, has an outstanding reputation, and will develop the site to match the Township’s future master plan.
In order to accomplish this, we formed a small committee consisting of economic developers, 2-3 Township Board members, Planning Commissioners, a member of the Economic Development Corporation (EDC), and a resident of the Downtown Development Authority (DDA) neighborhood. There are many development opportunities in the region and the Township is honored to have developers show high interest in the property. The goal is to have mixed use development for commercial and residential, which will hopefully have a coattail effect on other area businesses. With just 18 units allowed, the ability for a developer to make the numbers work is rather difficult, but we are confident we will be able to move forward as we’ve seen businesses continually show confidence that Meridian is a community of choice. We believe a developer will see the value of choosing this site in downtown Okemos and will make Meridian their choice.
Planning Commission and Township Board site plan approval process remainder of 2015
Construction in 2016
Keeping the project moving forward will be imperative for rebuilding this section of the Township and attracting people to the area. Downtown Okemos is one of the major focal points of the community and we are focusing on what we can do with this project which will be a catalyst for a redevelopment in the area.
As we enter April 2015, we take an important step in Meridian Township history by celebrating the groundbreaking for the new Central Fire Station. This project started under the leadership of our former Township Manager Jerry Richards who led the millage campaign and was instrumental in planning the fire station.
The project could not have happened without Jerry and the many people that we have here today to share the history of the station and all the work that we’ve done to get here. I would like to share some of the kind words from Bob Hammer, a 92 year old resident and friend of the township:
“Congratulations on a really fine groundbreaking ceremony. It certainly seemed well attended. You and other township officials and staff have worked many long hours on this project and I am one ordinary citizen who wants you to know your work is appreciated. I felt out of place being remembered on a program with so many who have done so much, but I do thank you. Thank you!”
Please enjoy this video and the rest of Mr. Hammer’s story at our groundbreaking ceremony that is a symbol of moving forward in Meridian Township.