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Macomb County breaks 100 mark in schools state-certified as green

Across Macomb County, 101 schools have qualified as Michigan Green Schools by participating in projects that conserve energy, save landfill space, protect air and water and more.

The projects often come with the side benefit of exposing students to charity. In Warren, Carter Middle School's denim recycling project helps to clothe homeless people. The projects also expose students to life and potential career skills, such as the engineering of power-generating wind spires at the Macomb Math, Science, & Technology Center in Warren.

Those that achieved Green School status will be recognized at a countywide ceremony before the Macomb County Board of Commissioners on April 22, Earth Day.

"Just because they apply for it doesn't mean they necessarily get it," says Patti Dib, co-coordinator of the Macomb County Green Schools initiative. "They have to adhere to the criteria and provide documentation" of the goals that were achieved and the projects either completed or those to be executed.

This is the third year that Macomb County schools have participated in the project, with more schools joining in each year, says Dib.

Projects are big and small, from across the board energy conservation policies, electricity-saving motion-detecting lights, and kids wiping clean refrigerator coils for more efficient operation, to designing wind power experiments and the recycling of nearly 29 tons of phone books through AT&T's ReDirectory Challenge. Three schools shared $1,200 for collecting the most unwanted phone books.

The L'Anse Creuse district, for example, with 20 schools, has set a goal to cut energy consumption by 25 percent across the district, Dib says.

Some projects received grants and donations from DTE Energy and Waste Management.

This was the first year that Macomb, Oakland and Wayne counties are working together on Green Schools certification so requirements, qualifications and meaningfulness are the same across county lines, Dib says.

"So many people cross the county lines every day," she says. "If you see an official green school over in Oakland or Wayne County you're going to know what they've done because we operate the same way."

In Oakland County, 185 schools are certified green. Wayne County has about just over 100, she says. The three counties make up 80 percent of all green schools in Michigan.

Source: Patti Dib, Green Schools Coordinator, Macomb County
Writer: Kim North Shine


Grede Holdings partakes in EPA ENERGY STAR program

Southfield-based Grede Holdings LLC is committing to EPA's ENERGY STAR program, which has some of the nation's largest companies working to reduce greenhouse gases by conserving energy.

Grede, a manufacturer of iron castings, foam, silicon and other products for the transportation and industrial markets, with 3,800 employees at 13 foundries, three machining operations, and its headquarters in Southfield, plans to measure and track its energy performance with tools offered through ENERGY STAR.

The company also will develop and implement energy management guidelines for decreasing energy usage. Being an ENERGY STAR company will also have the company promote the importance of energy efficiency to its staff and the community.

It's all part of the ENERGY STAR Challenge, which calls on commercial and industrial buildings to improve energy efficiency by at least 10 percent. In return for energy saving achievements, Grede will receive the ENERGY STAR certification, an increasingly ubiquitous symbol on appliances and other consumer products and commercial and industrial buildings.

ENERGY STAR began in 1992 in an attempt to curb greenhouse gases and global warming. Last year it had saved Americans, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, about $18 billion on their energy bills while reducing the greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those of 33 million vehicles.

Grede is not disclosing the amount of investment that will go into the project, but there will be a "sound return" on the investment.

"We believe that a strategic, corporate energy management program will help us enhance our financial health and aid in preserving the environment for future generations," says Doug Grimm, chairman, president and CEO, Grede Holdings LLC.

Source: Richard Pacini, senior vice president, Millerschin Group; Doug Grimm, chairman, president and CEO, Grede Holdings LLC
Writer: Kim North Shine


Oakland Community College invests $1.3 million in campus improvements

As enrollment hits record levels at Oakland Community College, it is investing in improvements to campus facilities.

The latest project, $1.3 million, will pay for improvements at the Orchard Ridge campus in Farmington Hills and the Royal Oak campus.

In Farmington Hills, exterior sealant and glazing on bricks will be replaced while the other project will replace lintels and brick masonry supports above doors at three buildings.

In Royal Oak, a shower is being converted into a science lab and multipurpose classroom and one of two parking structures on the edge of downtown will receive a new payment system on the first floor.

"We have in excess of 29,000 students enrolled, the highest we've ever registered," says George Cartsonis, director of communications for OCC.

Oakland Community College has five campuses and is the largest community college in Michigan -- 25th largest in the U.S., Cartsonis adds.

Source: George Cartsonis, director of communications, Oakland Community College
Writer: Kim North Shine

Royal Oak Community Farm harvests produce and profits

In a city sometimes defined by its shopping, bars, restaurants, and nightlife, it is down-on-the farm goodness that's squeezing onto the scene.

The Royal Oak Community Farm, soon to see its second harvest of herbs and vegetables, is expecting to turn a profit in its second year of business, says David Baldwin, founder of Royal Oak Forward, a community development nonprofit that runs the farm.

The money made this year will go to the Royal Oak Foundation for Public Education. The Royal Oak school district leases the land for the garden.

The garden is located on 11 Mile Road east of Campbell and is run by a farmer/horticulturalist who oversees the produce that goes into Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) shares sold to about 30 residents from Royal Oak as well as nearby cities such as Ferndale and Birmingham. About 30 CSA shares were sold last year to about 60 people, Baldwin says. Other food grown in the garden is sold to local restaurants, Baldwin says. More orders of both types are expected this year, he says.

"We're expecting an increase in orders this year," he says.

Goods from the garden will also be sold starting in mid-May at the Royal Oak Farmers Market, which is open year-round.

While not through the long process of being certified organic, the garden is grown using organic and natural practices, Baldwin says.

Source: David Baldwin, founder of Royal Oak Forward
Writer: Kim North Shine

Smart meters spreading across Oakland County

Installation of high-tech electric meters that will change the way DTE Energy receives power usage information and increase customers' control over energy use has begun in Oakland County.

Over the next several months about 350,000 meters will be placed at homes and businesses in 25 communities: Berkley, Beverly Hills, Bingham Farms, Birmingham, Clawson, Farmington, Farmington Hills, Ferndale, Franklin, Hazel Park, Huntington Woods, Lathrup Village, Madison Heights, Northville, Novi, Oak Park, Pleasant Ridge, Rochester Hills, Royal Oak, Royal Oak Township, Southfield, Southfield Township, Troy, Walled Lake, and Wixom.

This portion of the installation of the "smart" meters come at a cost of about $168 million, half of it from a Smart Grid Investment Grant from the U.S. Department of Energy. The meters will form what DTE Energy is calling "the backbone" of its SmartCurrents program. DTE's matching $84 million grant helps achieve a nationwide effort to update the country's electrical grid.

The meters will provide detailed information about energy usage directly to DTE, recognize power outages without customer input, and allow DTE to quickly locate and repair outages and other service problems. The meters will nearly eliminate estimated billing and allow for service to be remotely connected or disconnected rather than requiring appointments with  technicians.

In addition, technology will be wired into the meters to allow customers to better manage their energy usage and bills. The SmartCurrents technology can be tied to similarly "smart" appliances, thermostats, and such. The DOE funding will allow DTE Energy to offer an in-home display product and special thermostats to nearly 1,500 customers. Check out smartcurrents.com for more information.

DTE has installed about 250,000 meters so far in Bloomfield Hills, Bloomfield Township, Commerce Township, Grosse Ile, Harsen's Island, and West Bloomfield Township. By early 2012 a total of about 600,000 meters will have been installed.

Source: Scott Simons, spokesman, DTE Energy
Writer: Kim North Shine


Beaumont Hospital opens $20-million health and wellness center in Rochester Hills

Rochester Hills is now home to a new $20 million health and wellness center that will offer not only the obvious, medical treatment and therapy to patients, but also a workout facility, massage therapies, tai chi, yoga, personal training and numerous other healthy lifestyle services to patients, employees and the general public.

It will also add jobs to the local economy and could even spur development.

The three-story, 98,000-square-foot Beaumont Health & Wellness Center sits on 6.5 acres near M-59, on South Boulevard between Dequindre and John R. roads. A 45,000-square-foot Sola Life & Fitness is the centerpiece of the facility. Sola, the first tenant, offers an indoor track, exercise areas for individuals and classes, a four-lane lap pool, therapy tubs, sauna, and steam room.

Surrounding Sola are several medical practices, including the Center for Pain Medicine, a rehabilitation services and integrative medicine practice, and an MRI testing unit, which is coming this summer. As a whole the Health & Wellness Center is meant to be a place to treat illness and injuries whiley keeping people strong and healthy through exercise and education.

The center is open to Beaumont patients, employees, and the general public and is competitively priced to other fitness centers, says Eric Hunter, senior vice president for administration services.

"Certainly the medical-based follow-up and return to health and staying healthy is a big theme," Hunt says. "But it's also about exercise for our employees to stay healthy and for the general public."

The Beaumont Health and Wellness Center -- a concept that is expected to spread here -- is the longtime aspiration of Beaumont CEO Gene Michalski, who was introduced to the usefulness of a wellness center while working for a hospital near Chicago, Hunt says. Landmark Healthcare Facilities and Dr. Richard Easton, director of spine surgery at Beaumont collaborated on the project, which could also act as an economic stimulator.

Besides the $20 million investment in the center, new employees have been hired and more development may follow. Of about 60 employees, probably 60 percent of them are new hires, and the other 40 percent transferred from other Beaumont operations, Hunt says.

"We think this number will grow over time," he says.

Around the Beaumont Health & Wellness Center is vacant, development-ready land. The possibility of the center attracting hundreds, if not thousands, of people each day (Sola has 1,400 members already), could be a magnet for new developments.

"Who knows, maybe a little medical row," Hunt suggests. "This has been in the cooker for quite awhile. We're very happy to get this off the ground."

Source: Eric Hunt, Beaumont Hospital's senior vice president of administration services
Writer: Kim North Shine


Cooley Law School Library nearly doubles shelf, floor space at Auburn Hills campus

The Thomas M. Cooley Law School's Auburn Hills campus has nearly doubled its library space, its collection and other features as the school works to accommodate its growing student body.

The expansion, which has been done in bits and pieces since 2008, when Cooley's Auburn Hills campus opened, should handle growth for the next 20 years, says Helen Levenson, Cooley's head of public services for the Auburn Hills campus library.

The increase in volumes combined with Cooley's collections at its Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids and Lansing campuses, makes Cooley the second-largest law library in the state.

"Our goal with this expansion was to give students, lawyers, and members of the public a chance to not only have access to these resources, but to give them the opportunity to do so in a comfortable environment that provides an ideal setting to study and research the law," says John Nussbaumer, associate dean at the Auburn Hills campus.

Besides nearly doubling overall library space to more than 21,000 square feet and shelf space from 8,100 to nearly 16,000 linear feet, the expansion and other changes have also doubled seating and and group study rooms. About 800 students attend school at the Auburn Hills campus.

"Our projected growth is a nice healthy figure," Levenson says. "It's fantastic to see it all done and ready to accommodate the current student body and the projected student body."

Source:  Helen Levenson, head of public service for Cooley Law School Auburn Hills campus library; John Nussbaumer, associate dean at Cooley Law School Auburn Hills campus
Writer: Kim North Shine

U.S. Census numbers as development tools

While population declines were the mostly the rule, according to U.S. Census data released last week, many metro Detroit communities are using news of their population gains to lure business and attract more residents.

Sterling Heights, Macomb County's second largest city and the state's fourth largest, and Rochester, one of the fastest growing cities in Michigan and Oakland County's fastest with an increase of 21.4 percent from 2000-2010, have already hailed their growth as harbingers of future prosperity.

Rochester officials are calling their population jump from 10,439 in 2000 to 12,711 in 2010 evidence that a formula of mixed housing options, a vibrant downtown, access to trails and water and a solid commercial base has worked and is reason to show other prospective businesses and residents that the city is on solid ground and poised for economic prosperity.

Sterling Heights, which grew 4.2 percent from 124,471 in 2000 to 129,699, in 2010, is spreading word about how it got here.

"Sterling Heights is known as one of the safest cities in America," Mayor Richard Notte says. "Businesses have seen fit to reinvest, build and relocate in our city, as witnessed by $1 billion in development over the past year. Sterling Heights is still experiencing a strong housing market with two residential developments in full swing. And finally, residents choose the city because of our excellent public school systems and proximity to world-class higher education opportunities."

Other population gainers include Birmingham, Dearborn, Macomb Township, Brownstown Township, and Romulus.  Losers include Royal Oak, Pontiac, Ferndale, Warren, Mt. Clemens and Livonia.

Overall, Southeast Michigan lost 2.7 percent of its population, dropping from 4,833,368 in 2000 to 4,704,743 in 2010. However, the number of households remained nearly the same.

A large part of the loss is due to a 25 percent population decline in Detroit. According to SEMCOG, the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments, population of many of the nations' cities declined. However, many of those same urban centers are experiencing an economic rebirth, according to SEMCOG.

Wayne County, Michigan's most populous county with 1.8 million people, lost 11.7 percent of its residents.  Its neighbors in the tri-county area, Macomb and Oakland, saw population gains. SEMCOG's Southeast Michigan figures cover seven counties in addition to these three: Livingston, Monroe, St. Clair and Washtenaw.

In metro Detroit, Oakland County came up with a 0.7 percent increase in the 10-year span while Macomb registered a 6.7 percent gain.

Whether the population gains were minimal or substantial, communities are celebrating the upticks and awaiting anxiously a demographic breakdown, namely age groups which point to a community's attractiveness and chance for thriving. Those numbers will be released by the U.S. Census Bureau this summer.

Source: SEMCOG, city of Sterling Heights and Mayor Richard Notte, Rochester City Manager Jaymes Vettraino
Writer: Kim North Shine


Legislative forum to spread word: Going green is golden for business

In advance of Earth Day, the Southern Wayne County Regional Chamber is hosting a legislative forum on April 11 to discuss the role of environmental sustainability in business.

The chamber's Greening Downriver Committee has organized the event and panelists including Dr. Soji Adelaja, director of the Land Policy Institute at Michigan State University; Trevor Lauer, vice-president of marketing and renewables at DTE Energy; and Julie Baldwin, manager of the Michigan Public Service Commission's Renewable Energy Section.

They will explain how going green can be good for business, government, academia and local communities as well as the environment. They will also discuss various policies, programs, and initiatives that can assist, financially and knowledge-wise, in sustainability projects.

"We want to try to encourage businesses to look into sustainability," says SWCRC President Saundra Mull.

"We've got a lot of businesses downriver that are doing a lot with sustainability," Mull says. "We think more businesses would like to learn how to do the same."

The legislative forum is just one event focusing on how green practices can boost the bottom line. The SWCRC, which has an ongoing Green Leaders program to recognize businesses that consider the environment in day-to-day operations, is devoting all of its April events to the topic.

The legislative forum will be held from 11-1 on April 11 at Crystal Gardens, 16703 Fort St., Southgate. To register call 734-284-6000.

Source Sandy Mull, president, Southern Wayne County Regional Chamber
Writer: Kim North Shine


Auburn Hills moves Chamber of Commerce into city-owned offices downtown

The city of Auburn Hills has moved the Chamber of Commerce into a city-owned building, adding activity -- and ideally more tenants -- to downtown.

The Auburn Hills Chamber of Commerce office was previously on South Squirrel Road, "a little out of the way," says Stephanie Carroll, coordinator of community relations and legislative affairs for the city of Auburn Hills. "A lot of times people who are new to the community ask where the chamber is so it sort of made sense to bring them on to Main Street."

The new location on Auburn Road (AH's Main Street) is a street-level, work-live development that's easy to find.

"It's great because it's very visible," Carroll says.

The city's TIFA, Tax Increment Financing Authority, purchased the building in 2009 and has used it for city events and its personnel department.

"Now that the Chamber is down there they hold regular business hours and they are very visible, right at the street level. The lights are on. It's just more welcoming."

Besides housing the Auburn Hills Chamber of Commerce, the building will still be used as headquarters for city personnel during special events and a conference room that holds up to 10 people will be available at no charge to city businesses.

What made the city-chamber arrangement appealing was their like-minded goals.

"The city is in the business of retention and recruitment and it ties into what the chamber does for its members," Carroll says. "It's a great opportunity to work together and it reinforces what we do."

Source Stephanie Carroll, coordinator of community relations and legislative affairs
Writer: Kim North Shine


DTE and Ford Motor Co. install Michigan's largest solar power generator

Ford and DTE Energy have teamed up to build the primary part of Michigan's largest solar power generation system for DTE's power grid. The uses for the 500-kilowatt solar photovoltaic panel installed at Ford's Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne are two-fold.

For one, power from the new system will go into production of Ford's new Focus, Focus electric vehicle and other new-generation hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles.

And, the solar power generated from the panel will feed into a 750-watt kilowatt energy storage facility that can store 2 million watt-hours of energy using batteries, an amount that can provide power to about 100 Michigan homes a year.

While the panel will eventually save the automaker in energy costs, there are other benefits, says Scott Simons, DTE Energy spokesman.

"It benefits all of our customers and it makes us less reliant on bringing in energy from other sources," he says. "It's also good for the environment because we're turning to an alternative energy source. Instead or relying on fossil fuels, we are using renewable energy."

The project  is a collaboration between Ford, DTE Energy, Xtreme Power of Austin Texas, the city of Wayne, and the state of Michigan. The project was funded by $3 million from DTE Energy's SolarCurrents program, which, in part, calls for the installation of photovoltaic systems on customer rooftops or property over the next five years in order to generate 15 megawatts of electricity throughout southeast Michigan.

Another $2 million came from a grant from the Michigan Public Service Commission in support of its smart-grid program.

About $800,000 worth of in-kind contributions were provided by Ford, which will install 10 electric vehicle charging stations at Michigan Assembly. The stations will recharge the electric switcher trucks that transport vehicle parts at the site. Part of the project seeks to show that electric vehicle batteries can be reused for stationary power storage after they are no longer useful in vehicles.

The project serves as a pilot for solar systems at other Ford facilities, but this is not Ford's first foray into alternative energy.

"The Michigan Assembly Plant solar array builds on Ford's other renewable energy initiatives including geothermal energy in Ohio and wind energy in the U.K. and Belgium," Donna Inch, chairman and CEO of Ford Land, says in a statement.  "This is one more step in our journey toward sustainability."

Sources: Scott Simons, DTE Energy; Donna Inch, chairman and CEO of Ford Land
Writer: Kim North Shine



Automation Alley to open International Business Center

Automation Alley will open a new International Business Center at its Troy headquarters April 28, providing a place for companies around the world to bring business -- and opportunities for local companies -- to southeast Michigan.

The center, located on Bellingham off 16 Mile Road between Rochester Road and John R, will provide a three private offices, three Skype-enabled conference rooms, an open office area, a private entrance, and high-tech equipment. Access to high definition video conferencing will be provided by LifeSize and its local partner, Insight Technologies.

There is also a three-person international business staff dedicated to providing a wide range of assistance and information to international guests interested in conducting business in Southeast Michigan and local companies looking to connect with the visitors. 

"The new expansion will allow international companies to become familiar with the open business culture, technical workforce and quality of life in Southeast Michigan. We anticipate that once they become established, their business will grow and new jobs will be created," says Ken Rogers, Automation Alley executive director.

Kelly Kozlowski, Automation Alley's Business Accelerator client coordinator, says the cost of the 3,200-square-foot expansion was $394,800 and came through Urban Development grants from the U.S Department of Housing with support from Congressman Gary Peters and U.S. Senators Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow. The expansion was completed by Bloomfield Hills-based Synergy Group, Inc..

"Automation Alley has done 13 trade missions since 2001 and in that time we've continued to strengthen the international business component of our services here…This was the next logical step," Kozlowski says. "We're able to make a lot of connections for companies located here and companies looking to relocate to the region."

More specifically, users of the International Business Center get access to Automation Alley's 1,000 member companies, its training seminars and information sessions, use of the conference rooms and atrium for meetings with clients, investors and consultants and a copy, print and fax center as well a professional services information and pre- and post- export trade mission support as well as connections to county governments and economic development partners in the city of Detroit and surrounding eight-county region.

Automation Alley is Michigan's largest technology business association. The nonprofit helps drive growth and economic prosperity through workforce and business development projects covering a wide array of technologies from a various industries around the world. Automation Alley work stretches from Detroit, Wayne, Oakland, Macomb and Washtenaw counties across to Genesee, Livingston, Monroe and St. Clair counties.

Sources: Ken Rogers, Automation Alley executive director; Kelly Kozlowski, business  accelerator client coordinator for Automation Alley
Writer: Kim North Shine


Energy Sciences and Madison Heights team up to save energy, tax dollars

Birmingham-based Energy Sciences Resource Partners has worked its energy-saving magic with the city of Madison Heights, making it the latest municipality to update city buildings in the interest of saving tax dollars.

Changes such as the installation of motion-sensing lights and other forms of energy-saving lighting design to City Hall, the senior center, the police department and the Department of Public Services will save the city $23,000 annually. Energy Sciences co-owner Frank Schulmeister says a second round of energy consumption improvements will result in even more savings on energy bills.

"What's even better is this is creating jobs and we're being environmental stewards by saving all these kilowatt hours that have to be produced by these big power plants," Schulmeister says. "It's good for commerce all the way around."

While numerous local, county and state buildings across Michigan, including Rochester and Auburn Hills and dozens of others in metro Detroit, have completed energy-efficiency upgrades, private business is also making sure they are tight when it comes to energy.

"We have clients that range anywhere from 5,000-square-foot single business to Chrysler Corp. and Dow Chemical," Schulmeister says.

Energy Sciences specialty is to identify energy waste, design a plan to address it and help secure funding to make the improvements. Madison Heights' changes came at a cost of $99,400. Funds came from Energy, Efficiency and Conservation Block Grants. The second round of changes in Madison Heights will upgrade heating and cooling systems at city buildings and be paid for with an $83,347 loan from the Michigan Public Service Commission. The improvements are aimed at reducing Madison Heights' energy usage by 25 percent by 2015.

The majority of energy reduction design projects, if not all, use state funding, grants or rebates from DTE's Energy Optimization Program, Schulmeister says. Energy Sciences, one of several energy consulting companies, has rounded up more than $500,000 in the last year, he says

Sources: Automation Alley;Frank Schulmeister, co-owner, Energy Science Resource Partners
Writer: Kim North Shine

Michigan is national leader in street design that serves cars, bikes and pedestrians

The Michigan Complete Streets Coalition is cruising down a path of success as it spreads its campaign of "Building roadways that move people not just automobiles" around the state.

Not only did the organization win Campaign of the Year from the Alliance for Biking and Walking at a national summit last week, each week more and more municipalities are signing on to the Complete Streets approach, which means road construction and improvements will take into account non-motorized uses.

A total of 32 Michigan communities have passed ordinances or resolutions in support of Michigan Complete Streets. That's the most in the nation, says John Lindenmayer, co-chair of the Michigan Complete Streets Coalition. The coalition is made up of the League of Michigan Bicyclists, the Michigan Environmental Council and AARP.

Earlier this month Allen Park became the fourth Wayne County community to pass a resolution. Ann Arbor also signed on last week and Detroit, Ferndale and Royal Oak are among cities working to include all forms of transportation in their road planning.

"There's been an incredible amount of momentum in this last year," says
Lindenmayer, "and it's picked up since August when legislation was adopted
that makes communities with Complete Streets policies more eligible for
non-motorized funding from the Michigan Department of Transportation."

Lindenmayer believes an approach like this not only keeps people safer but makes places more livable. And, he believes communities that make themselves more accessible to walkers and bicyclists will be more attractive and successful.

"You look at all the young talent that's leaving Michigan. They're going to communities where they can walk, ride their bikes, that are more livable," he says. "We're really moving in the right direction -- especially to be known as the auto state, to be leading in this, really says a lot."

Source: John Lindenmayer, co-chair Michigan Complete Streets Coalition
Writer: Kim North Shine


Main Street Oakland recognizes top downtown projects

An assortment of projects, seen as prime examples for how to carve out thriving a downtown, are winners of the 2011 Main Street Oakland Awards.

Among the more than 25 winners were:

The Farmington DDA's Grand River Avenue Streetscape Promotion Campaign, which won the Outstanding Brand & Imaging Campaign Effort/Strategy.

In the design category, Patti's Place in Lake Orion won Outstanding Facade/Building Rehabilitation Award for projects between $10,000 and $50,000. The Village Mall in Farmington won the same award for a project of more than $50,000.

Ferndale took home several awards, including the Pedestrian Alley Project, a cooperative effort between the city, the DDA, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and Foley & Mansfield, which won the Outstanding Private/Public Partnership Award. The Lofts on 9 in Ferndale won the Outstanding New Construction Project Award and the Ferndale DDA won the Special Achievement award, in addition to businesses that took home awards.

Creekfest in Ortonville won the Outstanding Special Event Award.

A Special Partnership Award went to Pontiac Mayor Leon Jukowski, the Pontiac DDA and the Pontiac Downtown Business Association.

The Outstanding Core Area Downtown Master Plan went to the Walled Lake DDA Design Committee and Beckett & Raeder, Inc. for the Walled Lake DDA Lakefront Area Framework Plan.

Main Street is a program of the national Main Street Center in Washington, D.C.

Farmington, Ferndale, Franklin, Highland, Holly, Lake Orion, Ortonville, Oxford, Pontiac, Rochester, and Walled Lake are MSOC communities. Berkley, Clarkston, Clawson, Hazel Park, Leonard, South Lyon and Waterford participate in the mentoring program.

Oakland County was the first in the U.S. to operate a county-wide Main Street program that works with 32 downtowns deemed to be distinct or historic. Since Main Street Oakland began in 2000, according to the county, there has been $560 million in investment in 11 downtowns, more than 5,000 jobs created, and 529 businesses established.

For more information or a complete list of 2011 Main Street Oakland Award winners, go to www.mainstreetoaklandcounty.com.

Source: Stephen Huber, Oakland County Economic Development and Community Affairs
Writer: Kim North Shine
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