See LinkedIn article for a photo of an apartment building under construction on Livernois. The project was approved after the developer changed it from five stories to four. It also took a very long time to construct. It currently has Dave Henderson and Ollie Aphedian signs on it.

Here is a link to my previous blog article Troy Town Center – Boon or Boondoggle?, where I discussed this project and urged voters to vote Yes on the charter amendment despite its overly broad language requiring a vote of the people, opponents said, for renewing many different city agreements. Several people I talked to voted No because it was too broad even though they opposed the land sale. Even so, 43% of the people voted Yes on the Troy, Michigan charter amendment.

Below are links to three articles about the proposed Troy Town Center project, which would sell much of the Civic Center green space to developers for apartments, condominiums, retail space, and a new nine story hotel. If everything works according to the plan, the $53 million in public funds for the project ($328 million in private funds would be invested) would be recouped over 20 years, netting the city $12 million in property taxes from the private development.

Robert Gibbs’ New Urbanism original plan for Troy, Michigan is described in the Detroit News article. The Detroit Free Press and Crain’s Detroit Business articles describe the controversy that surfaced after a petition drive for a charter amendment to possibly block the land sale by putting it up for a vote of the people.

The amendment might have passed if it was specific to the Civic Center property or more narrowly worded, such as “The city shall not enter into an agreement for the transfer, sale, or lease of any parcel of public land greater than two (2) acres,” etc.

The revised amendment would then be clear and would just require a vote on selling the Civic Center green space and future pieces of city-owned land to developers. I question why the city is so eager to do this while the former Kmart Headquarters sits empty a mile and a half west, also on prime land. Why not encourage the owner to redevelop this prime property which is currently only used for overflow parking for Somerset Mall?

The Troy Town Center project proposes dismantling and rebuilding the Troy Family Aquatic Center at a new location. The woods to the north in the Phillip J. Huber Park would be preserved, I assume.

The proposed new bridge across I-75 would probably get more traffic than the million dollar footbridge at the Troy Transit Center, but it seems unnecessary unless the city wants to have a bridge over I-75 to advertise itself similar to Auburn Hills. (This would be a new two-lane bridge north of six-lane Big Beaver, not replacing an existing bridge.)

I am skeptical of the New Urbanism concept (dense packing of people into walkable new city centers which didn’t have downtowns before) and oppose this particular project and others that would rezone to have tall apartment buildings built overlooking single-family homes. After a year of contentious debate, the council voted 4-3 to block the new apartment building, shown above with one floor removed after the project was revisited by the developer. Lately the City Council has been approving nearly every rezoning proposed by the Planning Commission and developers unless nearby residents object. The Troy Town Center project affects the entire city.

Troy does not currently have parking meters or city-owned parking garages, and I would prefer to keep it that way. It’s much easier to have free parking near where you want to shop, rather than feed the meters as in Royal Oak, Birmingham or Detroit. Rochester now has a city-owned garage behind the downtown shopping area and several free parking lots, so that solves their parking problem. A recent controversy erupted in Birmingham, Michigan with a new luxury hotel taking away several parking meters from the city for their valet parking.

Does Troy need a new nine-story hotel within a stone’s throw of the Troy Marriott? There already is the new Hilton Garden Inn, Hampton Inn and Suites, Drury Inn, Hawthorne Suites by Windham and Somerset Inn within a mile and a half of the I-75 Big Beaver interchange.

Do we need more high-density apartments and condominiums? Somerset Park Apartments with their two-story buildings, golf course and spacious grounds would never be built today. And does Troy really need more retail space?

The Town Center project will not create a walkable downtown area like other neighboring towns have, just pack more people into a dense area near I-75. There are already condominiums within walking distance of the shopping area west of Coolidge and south of Maple Road. How many people walk to Kroger from their condo? People can walk to Hollywood Markets from Somerset Park Apartments. How many do so?

The people of Troy moved here because of the good schools and elbow room. Millennials may prefer the excitement of living in a loft apartment in Royal Oak or midtown Detroit, but when they have children, some have moved to Troy or Rochester Hills. Many Troy residents come from India or China, which are way more crowded. If we wanted to live in a more urban area with its congestion, we would live there.

While it might generate more revenue for the city in the long run if successful, once the green space is sold, it will never return. I am surprised that environmentalists have not decried this proposal; we need to encourage redevelopment of existing brownfield sites like Kmart headquarters before even thinking about selling the civic center land. It could be developed as parkland as originally proposed in 2004.

The city is in a good financial position now. We don’t need to sell off our prized green space. It’s almost like New York City selling part of Central Park. I realize there is already a charter provision prohibiting the sale of city parkland. Perhaps the entire undeveloped area could be turned into a park – a disc golf course, plant more trees, and have more trails through the woods and wetlands instead of “pave paradise and put up a parking lot (or garage).”

Other articles

Please check out The Michigan Declaration and consider signing it.

In previous blog posts, I began telling the story of my brain tumor and the depression which followed it. The second article in the series described my faith in God which sustained me through both trials.

Having recently started a word-by-word translation of Martin Luther’s Bible from German to English, I introduced the project and published Matthew Chapter 1 . Later I wrote commentary on it; my church background and theological training is in my USA Melting Pot bio.

Dale Murrish writes on historytraveltechnologyreligion and politics for the USA Melting Pot club, LinkedIn, and Troy Patch. You can see over a dozen ethnic presentations from people with firsthand knowledge under Culture & Country (right hand side), and outdoor presentations (Hobby & Fun), including posts on bicycling, skiing and camping.

Other interesting articles on the USA Melting Pot website have been written by Bilal Rathur on his hajj to Saudi Arabia (Part 6) and by Carl Petersen. Thanks to both of them for their contributions.