Today marks Nine Years since I was appointed to City Council in 2014 after the death of Councilman Bill Sweeney. Bill was a huge supporter of sports & recreation in the community, and the City named the sled hill at Spindler Park after him.
Since then, I believe we have made a lot of strides in our parks. This year we had a duo of innovative changes at Spindler Park: a story walk, and permanent corn hole boards. Many other positive changes have been made over the recent years also, not only at Spindler Park, but also at Kennedy Park, Memorial Park, Goetz Park, Roxana Park, and others. This past year we made an awesome change at Rein Park, creating a walking path around the outside of the park, along with benches and garbage cans.
We have had another full year with body worn cameras at the police department, including one high profile, newsworthy issue that showed the police department treating folks with respect. Without the body worn cameras it would have been a he-said, she-said. We have ordered two new fire trucks for the fire department, and are currently waiting for their arrival. Also, looking to the future for our police department and District Court, we bought the property to the east of our current building, so that we can eventually discuss a new, state-of-the-art, better building that will serve the residents and be something to be proud of.
The City has continued distributing water filters so that no one has to risk consuming lead in our community. In the meantime we are replacing hundreds of lead service lines. The State allocated $10 million to our fortunate community to help in this endeavor. We have State Representative Kimberly Edwards and State Senator Veronica Klinefelt to thank, along with the rest of the Legislature and Governor Gretchen Whitmer.
I have continued to volunteer with the Association of Community, Fraternal, and Veterans Organizations (ACFVO), the group that organizes the Memorial Day Parade and a Veterans Day event. This year's Memorial Day Parade had FOUR times as many participants as it did last year, thank you to Mickey Buczak. The rest of board members: Chris Causley, Sarah Lucido, and Ron Tomala, along with many volunteers created a successful 2022 Veterans Day event, and amazingly successful 2023 Memorial Day Parade.
The City has applied for many grants and low-interest loans this year, including for a splash pad. Many in the community have reminisced about the pool we had at Kennedy Park, and I think this will be a huge step toward filling that void.
Nine Mile is being reconstructed. It's unfortunately not being reconstructed as I hoped, but I am optimistic that in the end it will serve the residents well, and be an economic boom for Nine Mile businesses. I hope that we bring more trees, more crosswalks to reduce jaywalking, and maybe even a couple pocket parks one day? We will at least have a new refuge island near the senior homes, and less curb cuts across Nine Mile.
Our Beautification Commission, including Chair Craig Wodecki, Vice Chair LaKeita Cobb, Rachel Sullivan, Paul Kolbe, Sene Murrill, Pam Russell, Kevin Murphy, and Dorothy Stover, put on another electronics recycling event, helped immensely two Eastpointe residents with yard work (and one of them wrote a heartwarming message to the Commission!), and have planned an additional litter clean up this year. They are such a fantastic group of volunteers! The other commission I am liaison to has also worked extremely hard, including an entire rehaul of the Chapter 50 Zoning. This chapter of our ordinances is a HUGE amount of the law that the City enforces. It took a lot of work with McKenna Associates, the Zoning Ordinance Steering Committee, and many City administrators.
In March I was able to read to students of our wonderful school district. Unfortunately, one of the sessions was canceled due to weather, and I didn't have a chance to confuse elementary schoolers with P is for Pterodactyl. And speaking of the school district, its bond proposal passed in the August election. Many positive changes are coming to the buildings to support our students.
Dan Zander, local celebrity, provider of almost all City Council meeting invocations, and the school district's biggest band booster, hit the 30-year mark as a crossing guard. What a fantastic friend we have as a community with Dan Zander.
The Council had a change this year. Mayor Pro Tem Sarah Lucido was elected to the Macomb County Commission, and then Stacy Cobb-Muniz was appointed in her place. Rob Baker was appointed Mayor Pro Tem.
We had a lot of tragic news in the past year, with the passing of Eastpointe Community Schools Trustee Keith Ward; retired judge Carl Gerds; previous mayor Jim Kelly; Sue Young, a fantastic resident; Harvey Creech, a member of multiple commissions; Connor McMahon, a dedicated employee of RARE; Colleen Cohan, a previous City Councilwoman; public safety booster Bobby Brown; and Amy Drouillard, one my graduating classmates of 2006.