On September 28, the Macedonian Cultural Center hosted City of Sterling Heights Mayor Michael C. Taylor for his third-annual State of the City address.
Titled A New Found Sense of Place, Mayor Taylor’s address was full of energy reflective of an incredible year of activity in Sterling Heights. After paying homage to the past during the City’s 50th anniversary, Mayor Taylor focused on how Sterling Heights is well-positioned for the next chapter of its history.
This year’s presentation had a special focus on progress made through the Recreating Recreation initiative and the newly invigorated sense of place growing in Sterling Heights.
"Celebrating its 50th year, Sterling Heights kicked off the celebration this year in January with a reunion honoring all of the city’s past elected officials. We launched a book written by our Librarian Debbie Vercellone showing our City’s history in pictures, and in June we threw a party to reopen Dodge Park," said Taylor.
Mayor Taylor detailed the new Dodge Park Farmers Market, Music in the Park, and the smash opening of the new Splash Pad that brought in over $100,000 in revenue this summer alone. In recapping the success of the City’s 50th birthday party and fireworks on June 28, Mayor Taylor announced that fireworks would become an annual event on the first night of the Sterlingfest Art and Music Festival.
Taylor praised the city's Police Department by saying, "With recent efforts to create a safe community for our residents, our Sterling Heights Police Department has partnered with Utica Community Schools to add two new school resource officers at Henry Ford II and Stevenson High School. The Smart Moves Program has been created and implemented into Utica Community Schools and Warren Consolidated curriculum to ensure every child will learn tools to help them avoid drugs."
This year the Police Department purchased a drone and will certify five police officers as drone pilots. The drone will provide the department with capabilities that will reduce cost and increase efficiency. Two police dogs, Groot and Ernie, have been added to the K-9 unit. These new additions will aid in tracking track suspects, locating dangerous narcotics, and providing assistance to neighboring communities
Taylor added, "When it comes to safety and security of our City, our police department and fire department go hand-in-hand. Since last November, the Sterling Heights Fire Department has been working hard to better equip fire personnel for the daily emergencies that occur. The fire department now has the ability to handle all patient transport with the hiring of 15 new firefighters and the purchase of five new ambulances. These new additions are expected to generate over $1 million in income to the City over the next 10 years. As of August 1st, 2018 the fire department has transported over 7,000 patients to area hospitals."
The Department of Public Works has been focused on increasing the City’s tree canopy this past year. DPW assisted in planting more than 2,000 new trees city-wide, up from just 200 in 2017. Trees are vitally important to the character, health, and vibrancy of a city and the DPW is doing a great job with implementing this into the City.
DPW is also using GPS to locate and inventory the City’s underground utility infrastructure. This helps the DPW identify areas of concern and deploy resources more efficiently. DPW also recently purchased a new tractor to help clear vegetation from guardrails and the trails along the Clinton River trail system.
"In 2018, our local real estate market is stronger than ever. Total new construction in Sterling Heights this fiscal year exceeds $140 million dollars. According to most recent assessment values, Sterling Heights is one of the top five cities in the State of Michigan in aggregate property value, and ranks number one in industrial property values among the five highest communities in the state," said Taylor.
Taylor went on to discuss the unprecedented road improvements that are happening in the City. "Last year we unveiled a five-year plan for addressing nearly every major road in the city," said Taylor. "We are going to fix every road that needs to be fixed, and not just the major roads – local roads are being fixed too. In total, our road plan in Sterling Heights represents an investment of over $400 million dollars."
In addition, Sterling Heights partnered with Macomb County and the City of Warren for the Innovate Mound initiative. A few months ago it was announced that the complete reconstruction of Mound Road from I-696 to M-59 will be done starting in 2020 thanks to a $98 million dollar federal grant.
Taylor added that there is much to look forward to in 2019, including completion of the highly anticipated dog park in Delia Park, as well as the 98,000 square foot community center. Taylor highlighted that the community center will be a gathering place for residents and the hub for the diverse recreational programming produced by the Parks & Recreation Department. The City's goal is to provide residents of all ages with year-round recreational and cultural opportunities, all within the four corners of Sterling Heights.
Mayor Taylor concluded his address by introducing Push Play 365, a marketing campaign that promotes all of the incredible opportunities to have fun in Sterling Heights throughout all four seasons.
Media with questions or those looking to schedule an interview can contact Community Relations at (586) 446-2470.