The 33rd annual Oakland County Economic Outlook Luncheon took place on Thursday, April 26, 2018. Dr. Gabriel M. Ehrlich and Donald R. Grimes from the University of Michigan Research Seminar in Quantitative Economics delivered their annual report. For those who want to learn more, the final report will be available online at AdvantageOakland.com.
In general, jobs growth has been steady in Oakland County as we continue to regain our losses after the devastating effects of the 2008 crash of the economy. It’s hard to believe that the crash that started the Great Recession began nearly ten years ago. A few facts worth noting is the Detroit area CPI is expected to be 1.7% in 2019 and 1.9% in 2020. While job growth has slowed down a bit, it is being forecasted to increase from 1.2% in 2017 to 1.7% in 2018, 1.9% in 2019, and 2.1% in 2020. This is the period of time covered by the outlook. The Oakland County unemployment rate in 2017 ran nine-tenths of a percentage point below the U.S. rate at 3.5% verses 4.4%. There is so much more to the report that goes far beyond the brevity of a blog post. You can learn much more in June by reviewing the report in its entirety at the website contained herein.
Last week, Dr. Ora Hirsch Pescovitz was inaugurated as Oakland University’s seventh president. The O’rena was filled with overflowing promise and warmth as bag pipes echoed throughout the walls. Student and faculty alike welcomed Dr. Pescovitz with cheers and words of admiration.
Dr. Pescovitz was employed by the University in July 2017, and has already made great strides to create a more inclusive atmosphere and increase involvement with student life. Dr. Pescovitz has an extensive history and experience working in higher education, as well as the medical profession. Graduating as a Doctor of Medicine at Northwestern University in Illinois, she is a distinguished pediatric endocrinologist and leader in civic engagement.
Dr. Pescovitz aroused the crowd by sharing her personal story of being the first born child of a Rabbi and a nurse from Russia. She explained how her parents instilled the importance of education, both in academia and in life. Those values resonated with Pescovitz throughout her lifetime and now she intends to reflect that at the university.
After the ceremony, Oakland held a community reception for the public to meet and greet Pescovitz.
Auburn Hills welcomes Dr. Pescovitz to our community and look forward to her amazing plans for Oakland University’s future.
Construction on Squirrel Road between Chrysler Drive and Walton Boulevard has certainty created some commuting challenges in recent days. We do apologize for the inconvenience; unfortunately, the orange barrels are a necessary part of maintaining our local roads.
Motorists have commented that the condition of that particular section of road is not too bad and question why the work is necessary. While we did resurface Squirrel Road 7 years ago, there is maintenance that is required to protect that initial investment. The concrete panels that are being replaced have cracked, which allows rain and moisture into and under the panel leading to accelerated deterioration at the subsurface level. This maintenance effort was anticipated and will continue to occur from time-to-time to continue to preserve this road.
While considering how much of a burden reducing Squirrel Road down to one lane in each direction has been for our commuters, I couldn’t help but think back to my early days here at Auburn Hills. When my career began here 30 years ago, Squirrel Road was a dirt road between the City Campus and Featherstone Drive. As a matter of fact, there were actually a couple sections that would only allow one car to pass through at a time, so you had to pull off to one side and wait as opposing traffic passed. If that was not bad enough, several times a winter we would have to close, Squirrel Road altogether during snow events to prevent cars from becoming stuck in a valley between two hills that were nearly impossible to negotiate during slippery conditions.
There is no questioning that the traffic demand on today’s Squirrel Road is significantly higher than the traffic volumes of 30 years ago, but the one-lane does serve as a flashback to a time long ago. So today (and for the next few weeks) Squirrel Road is once again one lane.
In closing, we apologize for any inconvenience that is caused by this year’s schedule of road projects and we ask that you bear with us while we preserve and improve our road infrastructure.
We have officially welcomed AM General to the Auburn Hills Community. Even though they technically moved into their building at 1399 Pacific Drive in October 2017, yesterday gave us a great reason to celebrate with elected officials and employees of AM General.
AM General designs, engineers, manufactures, supplies and supports specialized vehicles for military and commercial customers worldwide. Through its military business, the company is widely recognized as the world leader in design, engineering, manufacturing and logistics support of Tactical Vehicles.
As a leader in global mobility solutions provider, this new state-of-the-art facility houses the engineering, product planning, and prototyping departments as well as business development, US Defense, and strategic marketing functions. It was great to see some of their work on display yesterday and hear from the employees who had a hand in designing and prototyping the latest and greatest in technology.
We wish to thank AM General for choosing to grow in Auburn Hills.
Today is a sad day for Auburn Hills as we learned of the passing of the City’s first City Manager, Leonard Hendricks. Mr. Hendricks was first appointed as City Manager from 1984 to 1991. However, his passion and commitment for the city did not stop there. He came back for a brief period in December of 1996 to July of 1997 when the city was in need and searching for a replacement. Even after Mr. Hendricks retirement, he remained in Auburn Hills until his passing yesterday, Wednesday, April 11. Mr. Hendricks was an engineer by degree and brought that expertise, along with tremendous leadership skills, to Auburn Hills when we needed it most. Let’s just say that the Auburn Hills of Leonard’s time does not look like the amazing community we know today. But Leonard set a course for success many years ago as he implemented a number of economic development tools and City policies that are still practiced today.
Last summer, City Council and City Staff wanted to recognize Mr. Hendricks for his contributions to Auburn Hills and the lasting legacy he created. Leonard was known to park a distance away from his office on the municipal campus each morning and walk to the building as a means of getting a little exercise. The pathway he utilized each and every day, unbeknownst to him, was affectionately referred to by the staff as Leonard’s Lane. So in order to honor him, a park bench was installed along the pathway and a sign with his name on it was affixed to the decorative lamp post alongside that same pathway. We are thrilled that Mr. Hendricks was able to enjoy the honor bestowed upon him last summer as it will continue to be a lasting tribute to his sincere dedication and devotion to this community.
Everyone at the City of Auburn Hills extends their sincere condolences to the family of Leonard Hendricks. His efforts here will not be forgotten and will forever be recognized.
Photo taken October 10, 2017 at the dedication of Leonard’s Lane
In preparation for the Auburn Road Construction, the raised planter boxes will be rehabilitated. Over the years, the existing pear trees have become problematic as the root systems have overgrown their available space in the planter boxes. Additionally, the overgrowth has caused interference with existing electrical and irrigation systems.
The City of Auburn Hills Department of Public Works will begin removal of the pear trees on Saturday, April 7, 2018, beginning at 7:00 AM. Minimal traffic interruptions are anticipated and traffic controls will be in place. The incremental work is anticipated to be completed in mid-Summer, and will include new soils and irrigation, LED lighting, and the planting of new trees.
We are very excited about the growth of downtown! The construction is anticipated to begin on April 16, and to be substantially completed by the end of October. This project is expected to encourage more pedestrian traffic by improving the walkability of downtown, upgrade infrastructure to better serve our businesses and residents, and the new planned developments will bring more residents to the downtown!
Questions, comments, concerns about the project? Contact Samantha R. Seimer, MPA, Director of Authorities: 248-364-6806, firstname.lastname@example.org.