Vintage Pontiac neighborhood vital to Oakland County's urban core

With stately, tree-filled streets, its homes built in the Arts & Crafts era, Tudors and Cape Cods, Pontiac's South Boulevard area is a trip back in time, a tour through the years from the days the first homes were built in the early 1900s until the last ones went up in the 1950s and early 1960s.

The neighborhood at South Boulevard and Franklin Street is one of many vintage neighborhoods in the city and across the county, all of them the focus of the Oak Street Home and Neighborhood Fair this Saturday. It's the third year of the fair, which brings together home professionals and various home improvement and preservation organizations together with the owners of homes built in 1960 and before. There also will be advice and information on access to landscapers and financial assistance for home improvements.

The Oak Street fair runs from 4-7 p.m. in the area of South and Franklin near Woodward. The fair is free and will offer kids activities.

"Our urban neighborhoods are an extremely important component of Oakland County's quality of life," County Executive L. Brooks Patterson says. "The fair raises awareness of these neighborhoods and brings resources directly to homeowners."

The Franklin South Boulevard neighborhood specifically will be the site of home renovations and improvements being completed Saturday by Rebuilding Together Oakland County, the local branch of a national nonprofit that takes volunteers into older neighborhoods to complete preservation projects and improvements.

"When we come away at the end of the day, there's going to be six to 10 homes that have been given revisions, painting, shrubbery," says Ronald Campbell, principal planner and preservation architect for Oakland County Planning and Economic Development.

The boulevard will also be changed when the day ends. ITC Holdings Corp. of Novi, an electricity transmission company, has donated nine red oak trees and will plant them in the median on South Boulevard.

"There's tremendous investment in these neighborhoods both in terms of infrastructure and in private investment," Campbell says. We want them to understand the opportunities to protect that investment."

Source: Ronald Campbell, principal planner and preservation architect for Oakland County Planning and Economic Development
Writer: Kim North Shine
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