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What Would You Improve in Rochester and Rochester Hills in 2013?

If you could make a New Year's resolution for our hometowns, what would it be?

More than 45 percent of Americans make a resolution every year, according to statisticbrain.com. Some people vow to live a healthier lifestyle, others promise to spend more time with family, and many say they will try to save money.

As millions of Americans make resolutions to improve their lives, what could we do right here in Rochester and Rochester Hills to make it an even better place to live?

More focus from our local leaders on economic development? On environmental or human rights concerns? What changes would you like to see come to our schools? 

Are there restaurants or businesses you would like to see come to town? What do you want to see happen to some of the vacant buildings? 

What is on your wish list? Tell us in the comments below and join the conversation!

sheila tinnion January 04, 2013 at 03:45 PM
I agree with Jan, a theatre downtown would be great. We go to the one in Oxford quite a bit and have dinner, its a great evening. What about a place where we can go and listen to music and enjoy a small plate/drink. There is no place for a mature people to go and enjoy an entertaining evening. If someone did this they would find that younger people would also enjoy jazz and some blues.
Elspeth Coats January 04, 2013 at 04:06 PM
I love Rochester/Rochester Hills! In reading the comments here though, I am reminded of an initiative to put a community center of some sort in downtown Rochester which included a parking structure, auditorium, and meeting spaces for events or nonprofit groups. I don't remember the details or who was spearheading it. I have not heard about that in ages and I thought it was a great idea to bring people to downtown.
David Gifford January 04, 2013 at 04:10 PM
You are correct. If I recall OU was going to lead the development of the lot to the south of Rochester Mills Brewery. It would close the bottom of Third Street and put a auditorium/event building on that lot. I think the dive in the economy stopped that. Still sounds like a good project for that location.
chris murray January 04, 2013 at 04:34 PM
I agree with you Sheila. This area could definitely use someplace where jazz and the blues can be enjoyed. Currently you are heading to Detroit for those. There are young people who currently enjoy blues but I think this would increase if we brought it to the area. Lots of young musical talent out there in this area.
Nancy Boughner January 04, 2013 at 04:45 PM
The City of Rochester has installed the buttons that pedestrians can push to change the traffic light. I wonder why that was necessary. I used to be able to drive through downtown (from University to Second Street) with only one stop for a red light. Now, I sometimes get stopped two or three times! Some intersections in Rochester Hills also have these buttons. It never took that long to wait for the light to change. Of course, now, Rochester Hills has the "fast-track" lights, which are anything but "fast."
Ron Harman January 04, 2013 at 06:58 PM
Are there any plans on the table, so to speak, as to what will be done about the reduced sidewalk now in place and to where the Merchant's food, booths sale merchandise, charitable tables will go what with all the additional the structures etc. in place? Will we be able to move anything during the event? I can only see the possible movement of the refuse and recycle bins and perhaps the newly added free standing planters. Just some thoughts going forward.
Lee Zendel January 04, 2013 at 07:50 PM
Laurie- I don't know where you are getting your mis-information but no employee of Rochester Hills has gotten a 7.5% wage increase, even in totaling any increases they may have received over the past 3 years. As always you are entitled to your own .opinion but not your facts
Meredith McCutcheon January 04, 2013 at 08:24 PM
Thanks, Tiffany! I had no idea about that program. It's nice to see a comment that provides suggestions on what we as a community can DO to help support our wonderful city.
Meredith McCutcheon January 04, 2013 at 08:26 PM
There is actually, pardon the cliche, an "app for that". Some restaurants already use it (although I haven't seen it used downtown). The app allows the restaurant to tell you when your table is ready.
James Kelly January 04, 2013 at 11:00 PM
I've lived in five states & ten communities since age 18 (Ike was golfing then). Moved to Rochester a dozen years ago, from Southfield, previously Birmingham. Have an o-l-d house right in town, which permits me to walk everywhere in decent weather. Only time I can't find parking outside my own drive is Arts & Apples, maybe Heritage Festival. Otherwise I can usually get close enough to drag my aging body to whatever store or restaurant. In my view those blue covers on the parking meters make a positive statement that Rochester Wants Your Business. Even better than just not having meters at all. I suppose I could work up some complaint easily enough - but why? I like living here. Great to see older buildings being used, rather than demolished as in other SE Michigan 'Burbs.
Jan Olson January 04, 2013 at 11:09 PM
Bob, because the agencies that regulate the water won't allow it. I agree that the white water mill race in Ann Arbor is great. Research what is going on there now, with their Argo dam mill race. The EPA, DEQ, DNR and Huron Watershed council; all want the city on Ann Arbor to shut it down, fill it in. Have you been following what my neighborhood in Goodison (Oakland Township) has been going through to get our "promised" water back into the Paint Creek Mill race? Read the stories about it on the Oakland Township-Orion Patch. The Clinton River Watershed Council took the water from the historic Paint Creek Mill Race (water flowed since 1835), when they removed our small dam with a $704,000.00, EPA grant. We had no mill pond, just a small dam that forced water into the mill race. Seven residents had the mill race water flow through their yards. CRWC said water would still flow after dam was gone, nope nothing! So don't count on the white water! Fortunately our new township board is helping the community to get the water back down to the Paint Creek Mill again.
Jan Olson January 04, 2013 at 11:18 PM
Plus Bob, if they take out Yates' dam what happens to the history? That dam creates the energy to turn the wheel at the mill, which in turn, turns their turbine. No dam no real mill, fake mill instead. Important to keep any of what is left of the community's history!
Ron Harman January 05, 2013 at 03:37 AM
The plans submitted by Oakland University for that site was just beautiful. Sadly nothing came of it primarily because of the fact that from the Second Street Bridge and going North to the Rochester Elevator property... was declared a hazardous waste property. That stopped the Oakland University proposal but also proposed plan of moving/saving the Rochester Elevator by moving it to a site near the South Hill Bridge. Perhaps if we are lucky the polluted property will be declared clean .... the Rochester Elevator moved to a new site and everyone will be Happy. :-)
Patrick McKay January 05, 2013 at 04:27 AM
I think we already have a community history Museum at the Van Hoosen Farm that does an exceptional job of preserving and interpreting the history of Rochester and Rochester Hills. But then again, I may be a bit biased. The Museum is always looking for ways to help improve our community by telling our stories - any suggestions? Patrick McKay
Suzanne Hester January 05, 2013 at 05:54 AM
There are no meters anymore....I have heard several comments about them.....THEY ARE GONE!
David Gifford January 05, 2013 at 12:25 PM
Chris have you heard of Callahan's over on Opdyke and Auburn? They are a pretty good blues venue. Something Western Michigan University did that I appreciated when I went there was to open a lounge in downtown Kalamazoo specifically for the WMU jazz band to perform at as well as other performers. I know that I am getting to the point where I don't always want to be out somewhere where I have to shout above blaring music.
Jan Olson January 05, 2013 at 01:21 PM
Downtown has a grocery store: Hollywood! The best grocery store there is!
David Gifford January 05, 2013 at 01:41 PM
Jan, technically there are no grocery stores in Rochester. Hollywood is in Rochester Hills and so is Kroger. I live right down town and both grocery stores are 1 mile away from me. It is not that bad of a bike ride but both are about a 25 minute walk. I realize that both are only a few minutes away by car but it would be nice to have something in the heart of town within walking distance.
June Hopaluk January 05, 2013 at 04:00 PM
Great comments and ideas. It is encouraging that so many local citizens are willing to express constructive ideas. Even though they don't all agree, it would be good if these citizens and all of us were willing to be involved in the community's political process. Citizen involvement stopped the water towers in Rochester Hills. We also need more in depth coverage of the local political process in our local news sources. Come on Patch keep us informed, please.
Marie January 05, 2013 at 04:17 PM
The city allots approximately $391/mile to plow our residential streets this season when we had minimal snowfall last season after increasing the budget 46% over the previous season to almost a million dollars. For these reasons alone, it appears we would have quite the generous budget this year. One has to wonder where the over budgeted funds from last season appeared. I visited relatives in Troy and Sterling Heights over the holidays. The residential streets were more thoroughly plowed and salted. I have resided in this community for over 25 years and have witnessed many snowfalls. This is the poorest and slowest snow removal I have ever experienced in over a quarter of a century especially considering the intensity of the snowfall. I do hope this will not set the precedent for the season.
Christopher January 07, 2013 at 06:44 PM
Some times they are set-up, like in a downtown area, to slow traffic, not to speed it up. I don't think the goal for downtown Rochester is to get the Lake Orion commuter through downtown at 45 mph.
Christopher January 07, 2013 at 06:48 PM
Bah Humbug!!! Take a short trip to the downtowns of the other nice suburban cities and you'll find all these same things. AND, when you combine it with traffic lights designed to slow down traffic (and encourage the big trucks just passing through to go around), it will be a nice relaxed downtown with pedestrians of all ages (even those who occasionally need to sit down).
Christopher January 07, 2013 at 06:53 PM
Thanks Ron! I too am against collecting fee's or taxes that serve no purpose, but the 50 cents one needs to put in the meter is a small price to pay to increase the odds that I'll actually find a spot downtown.
Christopher January 07, 2013 at 06:54 PM
The re-paving of Tienken will wait until the 3 lanes or 5 lanes thing is resolved, which will then allow for some county, state and federal funds to be sought based on the final plan.
Christopher January 07, 2013 at 06:57 PM
Yes, please tax me more so that a small number of people can have a cheap gym (Troy's is not free, google it). FYI - That was sarcasm.
Christopher January 07, 2013 at 07:03 PM
Went down Saturday night after dinner for a drink, found a great spot on Main on the second pass. Anecdotal, yes. I keep trying to think of a nice way to say this, but I can't. All those cars, where other people downtown eating, drinking and shopping. It's a great sign for the merchants.
Christopher January 07, 2013 at 07:09 PM
I just don't think someone wanting to go out for dinner in downtown Rochester wants to park 2 miles away and ride a bus.
Christopher January 07, 2013 at 07:09 PM
Nothing ruins a good walk downtown like a diesel smoke belch from a bus.
Christopher January 07, 2013 at 07:11 PM
Well said. And as a follow-up to all those who complain, I never seem to have a problem finding a parking spot at any of the valet stands at some of our best restaurants.
Patricia January 07, 2013 at 07:17 PM
Just a quick look back and forward on our Main St.-- speaking as a taxpayer resident-the barrels are gone, the extra taping off is gone, the additional waste receptacles are gone and that were needed during the Big Bright Light Show--our Main St. looks pretty neat and clean--I think waiting until everything is planted is a good idea--the benches are needed for those that need to sit and catch their breath as well as for others to finish a coffee or wait for someone-but if we say sitting is bad due to traffic noise and exhaust then we should also question all the outdoor dining. From what I know and saw, that has been a "thumbs up" on our Main St. if that can work, so can our new designs. People just have to get use to the "new look and new feel" and it already looks better without the temporary items that are now gone.

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