By DREW HOWARD
Thanks to leftover state funds, the Rochester Hills City Council accepted a check for $1.325 million on Monday night that will go toward repairs for Livernois Road and South Blvd.
Acquiring the infrastructure funds was made possible in part by State Senator Marty Knollenberg, who called Mayor Bryan Barnett several weeks ago asking how he can best support Rochester Hills through leftover money in the state budget.
“Senator Marty Knollenberg has been a very good friend to the city for many years,” Barnett told the council audience. “He called me about three weeks ago and said, ‘Mayor, what are your biggest challenges? How can I advocate for your community?'”
“And I said Livernois, Livernois, Livernois.”
The $1.325 million check will be split nearly in half for both road projects, with $625,000 going to South Blvd (Crooks to Adams) and $700,000 going to Livernois (Avon to Walton). Work on South Blvd will start within the next few days, according to Barnett, while construction on Livernois is expected to begin following the July 4 holiday.
Mayor Barnett and the City of Rochester Hills have long sought to improve the condition of Livernois Road. In the mayor’s State of the City Address in April, Barnett said the city was looking for “creative solutions” for repairs considering Livernois is technically owned by the county.
In presenting the check to city council, Knollenberg took to the podium to speak on the importance of improving infrastructure.
“I drive 190 miles on my daily commute to Lansing, so I’m using the roads,” Knollenberg said. “I benefit, you benefit, we all benefit. Infrastructure is so important, it’s really the number one priority. The number one thing that people complain about is the condition of our roads.”
“Since 2015, legislature has pumped in more than $2.7 billion in our road system,” he continued. “We still have more to do, but it’s a great start, and I’m happy to help out in this regard.”
Going along with the night’s theme of big checks, Council Member Ryan Deel also announced additional funding of $3,500 for Innovation Hills made possible by the City of Rochester Hills Youth Council, who participated in a 5k on Saturday, June 16 in support of the park.
Innovation Hills is being touted as the region’s largest universally accessible play area. Plans for the park include a sensory garden, an accessible play area for individuals of all abilities, and pathways through nature designed for runners, bikers and walkers.
“I am so proud of our Youth Council students,” Deel said in a Facebook post. “I am so honored to be the city council member representative for the youth council…thank you to all the sponsors, city staff and volunteers who made this happen!”
The Rochester Hills City Council will meet again Monday, July 18. You can watch this meeting and others in full by visiting the council’s YouTube page, “Council Meetings – City of Rochester Hills.”