The Big Picture

Posted by – Elizabeth Brennan, Executive Assistant

Nothing builds a team like spending time together.  Knowing this, the City of Auburn Hills developed a program called Auburn Hills University (AHU) which brings one employee from each department together, for one day out of the month, for six months.  The group visits a new department each month for an in-depth look at its core functions.  At the end of the program, they have a better understanding of how the deparments work together to service the City and make connections with co-workers that strengthen our team.  They get a look at the big picture.

Yesterday, AHU employees spent the day with the Community Development Department.  They were treated to a day full of information about Building, Planning, and Code Enforcement activities.  While this may sound terrifically dull, it was anything but.  The best way to understand Community Development is to be out in the community!

The group visited the construction site of the nearly complete, Round 1 Entertainment attraction coming to Great Lakes Crossing Outlets.  They got a sneak peek of the space and learned about the growth of this company that is new to Michigan.

Checking out the Round 1 project under construction

Then it was off to SEALIFE Aquarium, Michigan.  A behind-the-scenes tour gave them a chance not only to see the incredible sea life but see the space that had been transformed from a restaurant into an entertainment destination for people of all ages to enjoy.

Overlooking the big pool at SEALIFE

The group stopped for lunch at The HUB (The Home of Urban Bowling) to try out Bomb Bowling.  No bowling ball needed…just a football.  It’s not as easy as it looks!  The HUB is located in a newly redeveloped restaurant that sat vacant for years.  The new use brings life and fun back into the space.

CD Director Steve Cohen has a good arm! Way to go, Steve!

Saving the best for last, the day ended with a tour of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA US).  FCA gave generously of their time to give our AHU group a tour of their facilities and then shared fascinating background of how their headquarters building came to be.

Photo taken from the 15th floor of the FCA US Headquarters tower

We look forward to leading a tour of brand new spaces next year!

Happy Retirement Dale!

Posted by – Steve Cohen, Director of Community Development

Yesterday, the City of Auburn Hills celebrated and honored Code Enforcement Officer Dale Mathes.  Dale will be retiring next week as he concludes just under 12 years of service in the Community Development Department.

Dale Mathes (left) being congratulated by City Manager Tom Tanghe (right)

Dale will truly be missed by our Department.  I’m sure that if you were to look in Webster’s Dictionary for the definition of a “really good guy” you would find a photo and description of Brother Dale (as we affectionately call him).  He would be wearing a Detroit Red Wings jersey.

This will be Dale’s second retirement.  He came to Auburn Hills in 2005 after retiring from the City of Detroit Police Department.  Dale has been extremely valuable to our team as he has brought a wealth of knowledge, a ton of real life experience, patience, and pure common sense.  Simply said, he made us better – which is an outstanding legacy to leave.

Best wishes Brother Dale.  Enjoy your much deserved retirement.  Thank you again for your service to the City of Auburn Hills.

Congrats Dale!

New Houses Sprout Up in Forester Hills

Posted by – Shawn Keenan, Assistant City Planner

We’re pleased to see that the first six, newly constructed homes in Forester Hills are already occupied, and six more homes are under construction.  It’s no surprise that the homes were occupied so quickly because they fill a renewed demand for mid-sized, single-family homes.

Forster Hills meets this demand by building ranch and split-level homes, ranging in size from 1,530 to 2,236 sq. ft. – the perfect size for a starter home or empty-nesters looking for a smaller home with several “age-friendly” amenities.

Other features that make Forester Hills so attractive is, you guessed it, location, location, location.  Being located on the west side of Old Adams Road means all the homes are in the Avondale School District, within walking distance of both River Woods Park and the Clinton River Rail Trail, within a 90-second drive to Downtown Auburn Hills and close to shopping.

It will be no surprise to see the six homes currently under construction, occupied shortly.

The River Clean-Up Tradition Continues

Posted by – Shawn Keenan, Assistant City Planner

Over the last 30 years, residents and businesses from all around the Clinton River Watershed have volunteered their time to improve the health of our local rivers, lakes, and streams by removing trash and debris from our waterways.  The City of Auburn Hills is looking to keep the tradition going by hosting a river clean-up event on Saturday, September 23rd.

Volunteers for this annual event are dedicated to the preservation and protection of our waters and natural resources for our future generations to enjoy.  They also realize the wide range of recreational opportunities, including fishing and kayaking, our local waterways now provide.

So if you’re looking for an opportunity make a positive impact in your community and improve the health of the Clinton River, stop by River Woods Park in Auburn Hills on Saturday, September 23rd, at 9:00 am.  The clean-up will conclude at noon when the team at Jimmy John’s will provide free subs to the volunteers!

For additional information, please contact Shawn Keenan, Assistant City Planner by phone at 248-364-6926 or by e-mail at skeenan@auburnhills.org.  Advanced notice of participation is appreciated but not required.  Volunteers are advised to wear work clothes and sturdy shoes.

To learn more about future river clean-up events, please visit the Clinton River Watershed Council at www.crwc.org.

Lucas Coney Island Being Demolished

Posted by – Steve Cohen, Director of Community Development

We wish to report that work is now underway to demolish the former Lucas Coney Island Restaurant, located at 2008 N. Opdyke Road, to make room for a new gas station.  Lucas closed a little over a year ago due to a fire that caused extensive smoke damage to the building.

Click here to learn more about the new gas station project.

Fischer Automotive Systems Plans Building Expansion

Posted by – Shawn Keenan, Assistant City Planner

An application has been submitted by Fischer Automotive Services to expand their existing facilities located at 1044 and 1084 Doris Road.

The plans call for a 43,266 square foot building addition that will connect their two existing buildings to create more office, manufacturing and warehouse space.  The larger facility, approximately 104,000 sq. ft. will accommodate the company’s future growth and room to house an additional 100 new employees.   The existing parking lot wil be expaded to the vacant parcel to the east of their building located at 1044 Doris Road.

Illustrated Site Plan

The estimated total investment in the project is $5.1 million.  Construction is expected to begin in October 2017 with completion planned for December 2018.

Those interested in learning more about this proposal are encouraged to attend the Planning commission meetings scheduled for Wednesday, September 13th at 7:00 p.m. in the City Council Chamber at City Hall.  A final decision on the application is anticipated to be made by the City Council on Monday, September 25th.

The Future Of Automation Is At ABB

Posted by – Stephanie Carroll, Manager of Business Development and Community Relations

I had a fascinating morning yesterday with our Mayor and City Manager – it was ABB’s Innovation and Technology Day.  ABB is a leader in industrial automation and recently sold the first robot manufactured in the United States.

The morning was filled with updates about ABB’s investment in new technologies that will allow them to serve their customers more efficiently.  I’ll admit, it was all a little over my head, especially the “intercloud” discussion.

Mayor, Kevin McDaniel with ABB President of the Americas Region, Greg Scheu

We then toured the facility where staff showcased technology that was unique to ABB.  We saw a lot of really interesting robots, but two that stood out were the robots that can make shoes in under three minutes and the UMI robot that made my espresso.

Espresso making robot

We are very proud that ABB has called Auburn Hills home for nearly 25 years.  We wish them continued success!