Creating An Age-Friendly Region

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

The City of Auburn Hills was recently invited to give a presentation at Southeast Michigan Council of Governments (SEMCOG) on what we have accomplished to help address the needs of the growing senior citizen population in our community.  We had the opportunity to interact with other communities who are just beginning their journey in this area.

My colleague Karen Adcock, Director of Senior Services and I discussed how we are making Auburn Hills more accessible to everyone.  We want to be a city where ALL generations feel welcome.  When you are in the business of delivering services, it’s important to understand how those services change over time as it relates to demographic shifts.  Auburn Hills now has more seniors than school-aged kids in our community.

We outlined our work since joining the AARP’s Age-Friendly Network in 2013.  We talk about community engagement, our action plan, and the initiatives our Planning Commission and City Council are making a high priority for Auburn Hills.

An Age-Freindly Community Conversation

It was great to hear from the experts talk about the role of local government and why it is vital in creating an atmosphere where people can age in place.  We know we have work to do, but we are now in a better position to address this important issue.

Commitment To Clean Waters Continues

Posted by – Shawn Keenan, Assistant City Planner

Not many people would spend the first day of fall – especially a sunny, 90-degree day – walking the banks of the Clinton River to search out and remove trash from the area.  But on the morning of September 23rd, a group of eight dedicated individuals did just that.

The volunteers met at River Woods Park and spent two hours collecting a wide variety of trash and debris from the river and its banks.  They worked through the morning and removed eight bags of garbage, one shopping cart, a traffic cone, and a six-foot-long 2” x 6” plank of wood caught in a logjam.

Extra effort was required to find debris because not much had washed up on shore due to fewer bank-full storm events during the spring and summer. There is one thing for sure – their efforts benefit the entire community and goes a long way in maintaining the beauty of our three parks; River Woods, Riverside, and the Skate Park.

I’m sure the deer that stopped by for a morning snack of crabapples appreciated the efforts made that morning too.

Jimmy John’s (located on Baldwin Road), stopped by to provide all the volunteers with a free lunch.  They went all out by bringing four different types of subs and chips and an assortment of pop and water for everyone.

The City of Auburn Hills would like to send out a special “thank you” to all the volunteers who participated in this clean-up and to Jimmy John’s for supporting their efforts.

To find out more on actions you can take to keep our waters clean; please visit the following websites:

To report pollution, please call the City of Auburn Hills, Community Development Department at 248-364-6900.

Remember…It’s Not Just Toxic To You

Posted by – Shawn Keenan, Assistant City Planner

Did you know that many household products are dangerous to our kids, pets, and the environment?  These materials pollute our waterways if washed or dumped into storm drains or roadside ditches that lead directly to our lakes and rivers.  Household cleaners, pesticides, gasoline, antifreeze, used motor oil and other hazardous products need to be labeled, stored, and disposed of properly.

So what can you do to help?  Simple.  Here are some steps you can take to carefully dispose of household wastes and help keep our water clean.

Identify it.  Be aware of household products that can harm children, pets, and the environment.  The words “danger,” “caution,” “warning,” or “toxic” indicate that you need to be careful in how you use and dispose of the product.

Less is better.  Reduce waste and save money by purchasing only the materials you need.  When possible, choose less toxic alternatives.  For example, try cleaning your windows with vinegar and water.

Store properly.  Keep unused products in their original containers with labels intact.  Select cool, dry storage areas that are away from children, pets, and wildlife.

Disposal is key.  Never dump cleaners, chemicals, motor oil, and other toxic materials down storm drains, roadside ditches, sinks, or on the ground.  Contact your local community for household hazardous waste disposal locations, guidelines, and dates.

City of Auburn Hills – Department of Public Works – 1500 Brown Road

Residents of Auburn Hills can participate in the 2017 Household Hazardous Waste Collection and Electronic Recycling Day scheduled for Saturday, May 20th from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.  The drop-off location is at the Department of Public Works Facility located at 1500 Brown Road.

Visit the SEMCOG website for more information on protecting our lakes and rivers.  To report pollution, call the City of Auburn Hills, Community Development Department at 248-364-6900.

Explaining How We Work To Be “Selected”

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

This past Wednesday, I had the pleasure to serve on a panel regarding the business site selection process for the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments (SEMCOG) University.  The room was filled with everyone from chamber of commerce directors to local economic developers.  Two panelists were site selectors and it’s always great to get such positive feedback on how the City of Auburn Hills embraces the development community and understands how to get things done.

Stephanie Carroll speaking at SEMCOG University

Stephanie Carroll speaking at SEMCOG University

The goal was to help everyone understand what they can expect from business site selectors and how they can be more proactive during the process. There was a lot of great dialogue and all of the speakers hit on important issues such as infrastructure, incentives and creating an environment within their organizations that can support and encourage business growth and sustainability.  While the program was focused on communities in southeast Michigan, these insightful strategies could be implemented by anyone who interacts with site selectors.

As economic conditions continue to improve in Michigan, it’s important that we remain focused on what municipalities can do to help support and grow the region’s assets, business climate, talent and innovation.

Green Infrastructure: What A Beautiful Idea!

Posted by – Elizabeth Brennan, Executive Assistant

The Auburn Hills Beautification Advisory Commission (BAC) hosted the Summer Quarterly Meeting of the Beautification Council of Southeastern Michigan (BCSEM) last week.  Councilwoman Cheryl Verbeke was on hand to welcome everyone and share some of the exciting things happening in Auburn Hills.

Representatives from 18 different communities attended to learn about the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments (SEMCOG)’s new Green Infrastructure Vision for the region.  Amy Mangus, Leader of SEMCOG’s Plan Implementation Team gave an enlightening presentation about the importance of green infrastructure.

Amy Mangus presents to the group on the topic of Green Infrastructure

Ms. Mangus explained that most of us think of our roads, electric, gas, water, and sewer networks when the term infrastructure is used.   These assets, often referred to as “grey” infrastructure, help a municipality function.  However, closely tied to grey infrastructure is a network of “green” infrastructure which includes parks, wetlands, and trees.  These assets are also very important to the economic health and vitality of the region.  Each community has a role to play in planning for, preserving, and enhancing these resources.  SEMCOG’s vision helps to outline a game plan for the future.

Riverside Park in Downtown Auburn Hills

Riverside Park in Downtown Auburn Hills

It was an excellent meeting and the BAC was happy to be able to host it right here in the City of Auburn Hills.


Auburn Hills Recognized as a Leader in “Sustainability”

Posted by – Shawn Keenan, Water Resources Coordinator

Experts believe that communities which intentionally take a long-term perspective and manage their resources properly today, will in turn, be healthy and resilient in the future.  Thus, be “sustainable.”

So it was nice that the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments (SEMCOG) recognized the City of Auburn Hills last night as a “Sustainable Community.”  

The Sustainable Community Recognition Program was developed by SEMCOG to recognize communities that have taken the initiative to incorporate sustainable activities into their practices.

For local governments, sustainability is about achieving economic prosperity while protecting the environment and providing a high quality of life for its residents.

Green Roof at the Public Safety Building

Some of the activities the City of Auburn Hills was commended for were the following:

  1. Being the first municipality in the State of Michigan to adopt a Green Building Policy.
  2. Using multiple techniques to reduce pollutants and also serve as an educational forum for residents and developers.
  3. Adding a green roof on the Robert W. Grusnick Public Safety Building that reduces its heating and cooling costs.
  4. Creating the Riverwalk Master Plan that guides redevelopment of the Clinton River corridor.
  5. Developing the Tri-City Pathway Plan (with Rochester and Rochester Hills) to promote safe pedestrian travel.
  6. Utilizing a 5-Year Fiscal Budget.

So, we now join five other governmental organizations which have received this excellent recognition – Novi, Farmington Hills, Westland, St. Clair County, and Howell.

Not too shabby.