Source: Sherman Publications

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$20,000 for Dixie Highway plan

by Andrea Beaudoin

August 27, 2014

A Dixie Development Project has $20,000 to work with after Independence Township Board approved a budget amendment at a special meeting, Aug.12.

Township Supervisor Pat Kittle said the money will be used on a Dixie Highway Development Action Plan

Richard Carlisle from Carlisle Wortman Associates, the township's planner, said the action plan is needed to lead to new investment, provide jobs, and increase tax base and services to consumers along the commercial corridor.

"One of the most significant priorities is to form a Dixie Improvement Organization composed of stakeholders," said Carlisle. "The initial role of the CIO is to evaluate, recommend and build support for specific action items."

The action plan's goals include creating a sense of place unique to Dixie Highway, reviewing ordinances and policies to ensure a business-friendly climate, mixing land use and building heights, increased pedestrian access, and encouraging re-development of vacant and underutilized properties.

Carlisle said the action plan is intended to be short term and strategic nature will activate long term changes.

Plans for Dixie also include redeveloping obsolete properties like the former gas station at the corner of Dixie and M-15.

Business owners, bankers, developers and realtors met in June to voice opinions and share ideas on improving Dixie Highway. Work during the meeting included identifying assets, opportunities and challenges along Dixie.

Carlisle said a lot of good insight was gained from the forum.

After the forum Kittle requested Carlisle create a presentation summarizing thoughts and ideas gathered at the meeting.

Carlisle's summary included six areas of priority including creating a Corridor Improvement Association, updating the master plan, developing new zoning strategies, implementing visual improvement, developing economic incentives and identifying and implementing enhancements for roads and pedestrians. 14 associated strategies, as well as time lines, required actions and funding to implement strategies and priorities were also outlined in the report.

Plans for Dixie Highway are also being updated in the townships master plan. Independence Township Planning Commission will also review Dixie plans.