By ZEINAB NAJM
DEARBORN — The mayors of Dearborn and Dearborn Heights spoke on their respective cities performance in 2015 at the annual Dearborn Area Chamber of Commerce Tale of Our Cities luncheon Jan. 12 at Dearborn Hills Golf Course.
Dearborn Mayor John O’Reilly Jr. touched on Dearborn’s property market, business district and Artspace project during his recap.
“Last year we began started allowing people develop property on their own within the city,” he said, “meaning, we allowed them to tell us what kind of property they want to develop and we helped create codes around their ideas.”
The business districts saw an increase in occupancy, O’Reilly said.
“We had various businesses open in west downtown Dearborn among other areas filling empty buildings,” he said. “It’s great to see the growth of local businesses.”
O’Reilly gave an update on the under-construction Artspace City Hall Lofts project and the city’s updated Dearborn Administrative Center.
“We’ve had more applicants then lofts available for artists at the former city hall with 18 of them moving in by the end of January,” he said. “The administrative center has become more efficient with the installment of a electronic board to organize customers.
A new addition to the city in 2015 was the creation of the corridor authorities for Dix and Warren allowing business people to make their own decisions O’Reilly stated.
Finally, O’Reilly said he is getting a team together to build a 25-year vision to keep Dearborn successful.
“You can’t get anywhere if you don’t have a plan,” he said. “It is important to look into the future to create a plan for the present.”
For Dearborn Heights and Mayor Daniel Paletko, new businesses, financial growth and residential area improvements were among the topics highlighted.
The Heights saw the addition of restaurants, retail stores and hair studios in 2015.
“We had a TJ Maxx, along with multiple hair studios and Signature Group Realty open their doors last year,” he said. “I hope to see more businesses popping up throughout the city in the future.”
Paletko also touched on the opening of Canfield Alkali Arena, 2100 Kinloch, which transformed from an ice arena to an in-line skating and hockey arena.
In 2015, Heights residential areas had infrastructure and maintenance updates, road improvements and water main upgrades.
“The city replaced 23,900 feet of water lines last year alone,” Paletko said. “We’ve always believed it is important to invest in our water main lines.”
For 2016, Paletko said the city will be looking into city garbage and recycle bins for residents toward the end of the year, when the current contract expires.
“We’re going to do some research and put out for bids for new bins for all residents.”
(Zeinab Najm can be reached at [email protected])