The economy may be slowing down but work on improving downtown Redford is speeding up.
Construction workers have started the Redford Marquee project and are close to finishing the Rose Garden Park in the township's downtown district, in the area of Beech Daly and 5 Mile roads.
"We plan, plan, plan and when we're ready we expect them to go," says Michael Dennis, community development director for Redford Township.
The Redford Marquee is an ambitious project that will turn the old Redford Township Library into a public space complete with farmers market and amphitheater. The 1962 building has been vacant since 2004 when the library moved to a new home.
The plan is to take off the walls to create a shelter for an open-air farmers market. A small amphitheater that can seat a few hundred people will be built on the side of it. Both the market and amphitheater would be available for a variety of community events. Most of the demolition on the $4.5 million project is finished.
Rose Garden Park is a pocket park that replaces a vacant lot near Midland and Beech Daly. The concrete for the park is poured and landscaping work is well underway. An Amish Country gazebo will also be installed in time for the park's planned Memorial Day opening.
Both projects are expected to play significant roles in the township's efforts to turn the old business corridor into a vibrant downtown district that is inviting to non-motorized traffic.
Township officials are also working on plans for a large streetscape improvement plan for Beech Daly and an extensive bike trail network through and around the downtown. Those projects are expected to get going later this year.
Redford Township has been working for years to turn its downtown district into an urban, walkable area. It has taken several significant steps toward that in recent years, primarily with the Redford Township Medical Building redevelopment.
Township officials hope these efforts will help create a greater sense of community in the area by giving everyone a common place to congregate.
Source: Michael Dennis, community development director for Redford Township
Writer: Jon Zemke