2018-08-09 / News

DDA to move forward with partial plan for Holland Square

BY LANIA ROCHA
810-452-2652 • lrocha@mihomepaper.com

SWARTZ CREEK – The City of Swartz Creek will proceed with partial plans for improving the vacant lot that has come to be known as “Holland Square.”

Various groups, including the Downtown Development Authority and an ad-hoc Holland Square steering committee, have explored a variety of possibilities for the city-owned lot on the southwest corner of Miller and Holland drives.

Discussions have centered on providing space for parking and/or public uses such as farmers’ markets. Details have included a pavilion, café seating and a fire pit.

City officials have said they want the Holland Square development to enhance business downtown, but some big changes are on the horizon in the city’s historic central business district.

Assenmacher Cycling Center, which had occupied one-third of the Lovegrove building for decades, recently moved out. The owners of Goin’ Postal and H&R Block, who are also caretakers of the property, also closed up shop.

Now, the building is for sale.

In addition, Dawn and Eric Jamison, owners of The Smoothie Shop, recently purchased the old Trecha building and the adjacent house on Holland Drive. The Jamisons are seeking a liquor license, and have said they plan to open a restaurant in a couple of years.

Since city decision-makers aren’t sure who will eventually own the Lovegrove building, or for what purpose, they’re uncertain about how to proceed with Holland Square.

“To boil it down, this is putting the final use of Holland Square on hold,” said City Manager Adam Zettel.

One thing is certain: the DDA and City Council want to see something done at that corner next year, Zettel said.

“It’s important that we do something in ’19 so we’re not sitting on this forever,” Zettel said. “I’m advocating we do something with the resources we have. I’m also advocating we keep it flexible. We want to be able to have events like food truck nights or art fairs.”

The project likely will be divided into phases, with Phase I being put out for bid in the winter. Phase I could include streetscaping with some sort of vertical feature (probably a brick wall a few feet high) and a blacktop cap on the lot. Plans for a pavilion and other features, however, are on hold.

The property also would be available for parking.

“I believe moving forward is the best option,” said Eric Jamison.

The Jamisons served on the Holland Square planning committee and serve on the city’s newly-formed Economic Development Committee. They are active in the Swartz Creek Chamber of Commerce, as well.

“Any improvement would be better (than the current situation),” Jamison said.

“We need to be doing something,” said DDA member Todd Beedy. “We need to break ground and finish (some work) in 2019, then wait and see what happens around it. The space needs to be set up for the community. Let’s start here.”

“The city owns the place, we need to fix it up,” added Mayor David Krueger, who chairs the DDA.

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