Northville is making plans for a more walkable downtown neighborhood

ByShannon J. Cortes

Oct 24, 2022

The street closures in downtown Northville have become a permanent feature this summer. The question is: what does the future of downtown look like?

A new plan commissioned by the city wants to understand this.

City Council will work with a consulting firm to begin developing a new pedestrian plan for downtown Northville to better understand what the future holds for the gathering space.

The plan – which will be drawn up by Grissim, Metz and Andriese, based in the township of Plymouth – will look at several factors to transform the town center from an area with roads open to cars to an area reserved for pedestrians all year round .

“People are taking the opportunity to keep it active through the winter and that’s another business taking the next step,” Councilor John Carter said when council approved the plan Oct. 17. “Part of this RFP is actually in response to a lot of that feedback as we look to address the challenges that have been raised. I appreciate the feedback from all sides as I think it has contributed to a better process here.

City Council voted earlier this summer to permanently close parts of Main and Center Streets to vehicles, a move first made in 2020 at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic to help promote business in a busy time. restrictions. The issue has become a hot topic in town, with heated arguments both in favor of keeping the roads closed to cars and those saying they should reopen to motor vehicles.

In addition to the road closures, the city council decided earlier this month to expand the city’s social district, The Twist, to include more of the city centre. This area includes Main Street from Center to Wing Street; Wing Street from Main Street to Cady Street; Cady Street between Wing and Center Street; Center between Main and Cady streets; and the area around the Garage Grill and Fuel bar.

The new plan will transfer this planning from the city to private enterprise at a cost of $46,200, an amount that is expected to be shared between the Downtown Development Authority and the city.

“For the past two years, DDA/City has provided a temporary solution to support businesses during the pandemic,” the RFP states. “We believe it is time to develop a long-term/permanent solution for the look and function of the area in and around the closed streets. This pedestrian plan will serve as a concept plan for all improvements in the area and will help the DDA in making decisions on how to spend the limited DDA resources The DDA intends to negotiate with the selected design firm for all design development, construction documentation, contract award offers and other future services associated with projects that are implemented from the pedestrian zone. Plan.”

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Meetings on the plan are expected to begin taking place later this fall.

Lori Ward, executive director of the city’s DDA, said three companies had submitted proposals. She said the DDA board felt most comfortable with Grissim, Metz and Andriese given her experience working with other nearby communities, such as Milford, Farmington and Howell, as well as of his work on the development of Northville Town Square which took place in 2009.

“All three were really capable. It was a tough discussion,” she said. “As I mentioned, Grissim Metz was the unanimous decision, but all would have done a good job.”

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Contact reporter David Veselenak at [email protected] or 734-678-6728. Follow him on Twitter @davidveselenak.