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59 Pontiac Articles | Page: | Show All

Defunct Pontiac community center remade into Wessen Lawn Tennis Club

The city of Pontiac may be sporting the latest and greatest new training grounds for Wimbledon, with the recent opening of a new grass-court tennis, social, and swim club.

Excerpt:

"The Wessen Lawn Tennis Club, a recently opened 24-court private outdoor grass-court center, is the creative reinvention of a closed community center and its grounds by Bill Massie, a local architect and the owner of the club...

Mayor Deidre Waterman of Pontiac is happy to see the dormant land in the heart of her 59,000-resident city come back to life. Pontiac, like Detroit, has been under state control because of financial problems. It emerged from a five-year run under an emergency manager in 2013.

“We’re working on recreating ourselves with a new spirit and vision, and this dovetails perfectly with the new Pontiac,” Waterman said. “We want to bring things that are unique and special to the city.”
Massie, who has invested $1.5 million in the club, has committed to keeping it connected to the community, pledging to hold junior lessons, donate equipment and host open swims next summer....

[Massie] is also developing the building into a bar and reception area, pro shop and offices, and, in the near future, a full-service restaurant for members and guests. The pool is being refinished and will open this summer. A few hardcourts and clay courts are in the plans.

Massie would like to bring an ATP-level tournament to Wessen and have junior and pro players train there for grass tournaments like Wimbledon."

More here.

Metro Detroit home prices climb 20% in June

The spring home-buying season proved to be a bountiful one for regional property values as buyer confidence increased.

Excerpt:

"The median selling price in Metro Detroit rose on an annual basis for a 16th straight month in June, according to figures released Monday by Farmington Hills-based Realcomp, the multiple listing service for southeast Michigan and a small portion of northern Ohio.

The median selling price in Metro Detroit climbed 20.2 percent year-over-year to $149,000 in June. Realcomp defines Metro Detroit as Oakland, Wayne, Livingston and Macomb counties."

More here.

Batman V. Superman film to spend $131M shooting in Michigan

Hollywood's latest caper? Spending some powerful bucks on filming superheros in our neck of the woods.

Excerpt:

"The Michigan Film Office reports the highly anticipated BATMAN V. SUPERMAN blockbuster will begin shooting in Michigan next month. The MAN OF STEEL sequel will have a Michigan budget of $131 million – out of a total estimated budget of $250 million - making it the largest production shot in Michigan to date, a title previously held by OZ: THE GREAT AND POWERFUL."

More here.

Amtrak, state on board with higher speeds, Wi-Fi on Michigan trains

High-speed, wifi, and bike storage to boot are coming to Michigan 's trains.

Excerpt:

"Amtrak and the state of Michigan plan to invest millions of dollars over the coming years to improve service on the state's three passenger train lines, resulting in quicker trips and more amenities for  travelers.

Upgraded tracks between Kalamazoo and Dearborn will allow trains to travel up to 110 mph in that area...

Most passenger trains through Michigan travel at a top speed of 80 mph, so the track improvements between Kalamazoo and Dearborn will be  noticeable.

To draw passengers, Amtrak opened up space for bicycle storage on its Blue Water line. Packing a bike costs a passenger an extra $10. The  Michigan Department of Transportation  also will spend about $1 million to bring Wi-Fi to the three lines by  January."

More here

'Transformers 4' film shooting underway in Metro Detroit

This summer, Detroit and Pontiac are transforming into a set for big-budget action. 

Excerpt:

"Let the Transformers 4 action begin.

The Michael Bay-directed film is clearly making its presence felt in Detroit and other Michigan cities and has led to some interesting videos and reports online.

If you want to catch some of the action in Detroit, check out the small town for the film that appears to be  under construction at Washington Boulevard at Clifford Street...

A bulk of the film is expected to be shot at  Michigan Motion Picture Studios in Pontiac."

More here.

Oakland County's job market is healthiest in years

This is the best it's been in years for job seekers in Oakland County, economists say. And the jobs pay well above the minimum wage.

Excerpt:

"On the heels of its strongest two-year job growth in almost 20 years, Oakland County's economy will add nearly 42,000 jobs through 2015, say University of Michigan economists...

In their annual forecast of the Oakland County economy, Fulton and colleague Don Grimes of the U-M Institute for Research on Labor, Employment, and the Economy say that high-wage industries—with average pay of more than $62,000—accounted for more than half of the new private-sector jobs created during the recovery, a trend that will continue throughout the forecast horizon...

Overall, Fulton and Grimes say that Oakland remains among the better local economies in the nation, ranking 10th among 36 comparable U.S. counties on a series of measures that indicate future economic prosperity."

More here.


Downtowns say no to blank walls, yes to active facades

In Oakland County's downtowns these days, businesses that want to put a blank face to the street have to keep walking.

Excerpt:

"Last fall, a developer approached West Bloomfield trustees asking for a zoning change in order to place a storage unit business at Orchard Lake and 14 Mile. Then, a business owner approached asking for approval to open a fitness club in a former dealership on Orchard Lake Road.

"The new businesses didn’t conform to our (zoning)," said Supervisor Michele Economou Ureste.

The requests were for properties in the township’s "town center" — defined back in 2007 as Orchard Lake Road between 14 Mile and Maple roads. In the area, zoning rules require active first floors, not blank walls, which was intended to make that area more appealing to people walking...That desire is enthusiastically echoed in communities across Oakland County."

More here.


Metro Detroit ranks 14th nationally in percentage job growth

In a good comeback story, Metro Detroit is no. 14 in the country in terms of percentage job growth from 2011 to 2012, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

More here.


Post-industrial? Detroit needs a new word

Detroit's economy is facing forward. Now it just needs some new verbiage.

Excerpt:

"Former heavy manufacturing hubs around the Great Lakes like Pittsburgh, Detroit, Cleveland, and Milwaukee often get roped together under the heading of "post-industrial" (when, that is, we're not otherwise identifying them by their prevalence of rust). The term poses at least two problems, though: Industry still exists in many of these places, and the very notion of defining them by their relationship to the past can hamstring us from planning more thoughtfully for their future.

"You've got the 'post-war,' you've got 'post-modern,' you've got 'post-9/11,'" says Paul Kapp, an associate professor in the school of architecture at the University of Illinois and an editor of the book SynergiCity: Reinventing the Postindustrial City. He was speaking Sunday at the annual meeting of the American Planning Association (hosted in what's often considered the post-industrial city of Chicago). "You get to a point," Kapp says, "where you've got to say, 'When does post-something end and you do something new?' I think with 'post-industrial,' we're at that opportunity now. I think it's now time to come up with a new term."

More here.

Atlantic Cities maps Metro Detroit's creative class

A great, comprehensive article on how the 7.2-square-mile greater downtown Detroit is growing posher by the minute, it seems, and how and why its deindustrialized metros (and certain Detroit neighborhoods) are landing the creative class.

Excerpt:

"Two of the top 10 creative class tracts are in Birmingham; two are in Bloomfield Township, and another is in Bloomfield Hills, home to some of the priciest real estate in the U.S. and the Cranbrook educational community. Designed by Finnish architect  Eliel Saarinen, the architecture critic  Paul Goldberger  called Cranbrook "one of the greatest campuses ever created anywhere in the world." University of Michigan's  Little  points out in an email to me: "Cranbrook graduates have added to the cutting edge design and creative communities of Detroit and the nation for decades."

Another top creative class tract is in nearby Troy, a sprawling middle-class suburb with excellent public schools, and the site of a high-end mall, the Somerset Collection. Two are in Huntington Woods, a leafy neighborhood that boasts such notable amenities as the public golf course  Rackham and the Detroit Zoo. Two more are in the "Grosse Pointes" — Grosse Pointe Farms and Grosse Pointe Park — the communities of choice for many of Detroit's old industrial magnates, whose lakeshores are lined with sprawling Gilded Age mansions."

More here.

Pure Michigan Singalong shows off Metro Detroit, becomes a web sensation

Come on, you gotta have a heart of stone not to be touched by this clever Pure Michigan promotional. And at nearly 2 million views in less than 2 weeks that's a helluva successful campaign.
 
Let's see if I caught all of our region's reps. There's the Erebus' ghouls (Pontiac), a high falutin' toast in Rochester, Royal Oak's polar bears, a Southfield weatherman, The Henry Ford (Dearborn), Ann Arbor's Big House, Detroit's Comerica Park, Lions, DIA, and Fox Theater, an ice rink in Novi, and the Ypsilanti Water Tower. Did I miss any?
 
Check out the video below.
 
 

Water-skiing squirrel hits metro D

What's better than a rodent on water skis? Why, nothing, of course. Twiggy, the water skiing squirrel sensation will be featured at the Home & Garden Show (March 9-11) at the Silverdome in Pontiac. Be there or be sorry.

Excerpt:

"Aside from performing, Best said the Twiggys’ other important duty is promoting water and boat safety.

Best said her squirrels have performed all across the world, in the U.S., Canada, Bermuda, Paris, France and Germany. She has appeared in numerous books, magazines, newspapers, and on television shows all over the world."

Read and watch the rest here.

International soccer tourny comes to Pontiac

There's a double threat of indicators in what would otherwise be just another sporting event in Metro Detroit. (1) An International Soccer showdown will be taking place at the Pontiac Silverdome, showing that the new owners are working hard to revitalize the venerable venue and (2) there's enough of an international community in Metro Detroit to attract such an event.

Excerpt:

"This International Soccer Tournament features four international teams to compete in Detroit. The soccer teams are: River Plate of Argentina; UNAM Pumas of Mexico; Ferencvarosi FC and Vasas FC of Hungary. The teams will fly to Detroit for this special match tournament from European matches.

The tournament schedule begins with the teams arriving on February 2 and playing warm-up and practice games at the Silverdome on February 3."

Read the rest here.

Royal Oak's Bruce Campbell comes home, hangs with Sam Raimi

Metro Detroit's most famous chin, Bruce Campbell, returned to his old stomping grounds for this past weekend's FanFare convention. He then dropped in with director Sam Raimi, who is filming Oz: The Great and Powerful in Pontiac at Raleigh Michigan Studios. He took a few minutes to answer five questions from the Freep.

Excerpt:

"We always hold out hope to film in Michigan, but there are other places, other countries, that make it very appealing. We've done so much work in New Zealand, that's where we may end up doing it, ironically.

Michigan and the film business and the incentives -- that's been interesting. Seems like that big welcome mat has been taken away. It's been fun to see that resurgence of the industry there -- with people like Clint Eastwood and Drew Barrymore and now Sam working there. We'll see what happens when the dust settles.

The thing is, I think Detroit -- and Michigan -- is a viable place to shoot for other reasons than the money. But it's also hard to justify why one industry is getting such a big break."

Read the rest here.

Oakland County surfs for new ideas via crowdsourcing site

Lots of politicians pay lip service to listening to their constituents' ideas and even implementing a few here and there. Oakland County is looking to take that a step further with its new online crowdsourcing initiative.

Excerpt:

Every city, county and state these days is faced with hard decisions about budget cuts and reorganization and even harsher feedback from residents after the cuts are made. Oakland County, Mich., has found a way to use technology to spark that citizen-to-government communication during the decision-making process. County officials launched an online public forum so residents can be an integral part of making tough budget decisions.  

The website, http://oakgov.ideascale.com, gives citizens the opportunity to respond to questions, make suggestions and post comments. Citizens can also rank the county's proposals by voting for the ideas they like best on every issue, from technology to parks and recreation.

"Since we are using social media in so many different ways here, we thought what is the next wave of how we engage our citizens in the process?" said Phil Bertolini, Oakland County's deputy county executive and CIO. "In a focus group, you put 20 people in a room, you ask the idea and you get 20 opinions. If you use crowdsourcing, you put out an idea and you get thousands of opinions. More minds and more ideas make for a better product."

Read the rest of the story here.
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