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DDA breaks ground on streetscape

October 06, 2010 - The long-awaited Streetscape project meant to give downtown Lake Orion a bright new face—and a brighter future to match—finally got underway Tuesday with a groundbreaking ceremony in Children's Park.

The park, said Downtown Development Authority Executive Director Suzanne Perreault, is first in line for a facelift. Contractors will begin to mobilize this week.

Projects include terrace seating on the hill facing the gazebo, a new entryway with stairs and a sloping sidewalk, and a slide running from near the top of the hill on Broadway down into the play area.

"We'll have a lot of new landscaping as well," said Perreault,

Tuesday's groundbreaking ceremony included remarks from Village Manager Paul Zelenak, DDA President Gene Carlson, Orion Township Supervisor Matthew Gibb, who also sits on the DDA board, and Perreault.

First-graders from Blanche Sims Elementary, who sang 'This land is Your Land' had most of the adults swooning, Perreault noted.

"They were adorable," she said. "The project is starting in Children's Park, it's all about the kids, so we wanted to have the children there."

And it may be the last many of them see of the popular play destination, at least for a while.

"We'll have to close the park for couple of weeks out of safety concerns," Perreault explained, noting heavy equipment used during construction will be stored at the DPW yard when not in use, as not to clog up the municipal lot near the park.

Work in the downtown business district likely won't start before spring, she added, explaining the DDA did not want to interfere with the annual lighted Christmas Parade or the holiday shopping season.

The Halloween Extravaganza is scheduled to go ahead as planned, although the spookiness will be staged on the other side of the park, near the Orion Art Center.

"I'm so excited to see this project get going," Perreault said, noting the DDA will sponsor a Buy-A-Brick program down the road. "We had our first pre-construction meeting with the contractors and engineers, and we're looking at ways to partner with one another and make it fun for employees and business owners.

"We really would like to get a positive everyone-working-together feeling going in the community. It's important to support the downtown businesses during construction—we're doing this for them."

Lake Orion Review Editor
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