‘Wall of Honor’ is tribute to public safety workers
By Brian Rzeppa
It was years in the making, but the new “Wall of Honor” on King Road in Brownstown Township is finally completed, and, as of late June, officially dedicated.
Brownstown Director of Public Safety James Sclater, who spearheaded the effort, said the dedication ceremony was a culmination of hard work by many individuals.
For Sclater, who has been with Brownstown in various public safety capacities for more than 30 years, the dedication of the Wall of Honor was a day he had looked forward to and had worked toward for several years. He said it was an uphill battle, but he had some help along the way.
“As deputy chief of police I had been working on some form of recognition for Law Enforcement Officers whom have served the community,” Sclater said. “When I was chosen to become Brownstown director of public safety it was clear the fire and police services shared similar dangers and experiences.
“Without Joe DiSanto’s (Brownstown’s economic and community development manager) vision, the present site would not have existed,” Sclater said. “The Wall of Honor was founded at a joint meeting of the Brownstown Downtown Development Authority and the Brownstown Recreation Commission held in February 2011.”
The Wall was funded through both donation and private funds.
“We hold two fundraisers every year (a Flag Day Concert and the Run with Honor) and if not for the volunteers and their families, we would not have secured the funds to bring the Brownstown Honor Guard forward.”
The first members of the Wall were carefully chosen, as each man had spent at least 25 years on the force. Retired sergeants Thomas Dayfield, Thomas Arsenault, Roger Dyer and Michael Gerard, along with former longtime Chief of Police Daniel Grant were all selected based on the same criteria that will be used from here on out, as noted in the ordinance that was enacted prior to the Wall being dedicated.
Sclater, a Trenton native who graduated from Trenton High School in 1975, has a resume that includes many significant achievements throughout the course of his law enforcement career. But his concern for the safety of others extends even further back.
“My parents were to blame — they raised me to protect those in need and to give of yourself. Random acts of kindness were and are still a big part of my family.”
After high school Sclater went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Lake Superior State University in Sault St. Marie. His education didn’t stop with a four-year degree, however, as he also has a master’s in interdisciplinary technologies from Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti. He also attended the Northwestern University School of Police Staff and Command.
He has worked his way up through the ranks of the Brownstown Police Department and gave his all to the township. Starting out as an officer in 1982, he worked his way up to sergeant within five years. From there, he was Deputy Police Chief for 15 years before being named director of public safety in 2009. It was a long climb, but he’s enjoyed the ride.
“I have some of the best people to work with every day, we come in and do our best together, what could be better? There are so many instances where a life was saved or some other deed was done by us that we know matters.”
As for the Wall of Honor, Sclater looks at it as yet another example of people coming together and accomplishing something great. This is not the only program that he looks fondly on, but it’s near the top of his list.
“It is what I do, a part of what we do, and all this happens when we pull together,” he said. “Any and all accomplishments are a product of that shared cooperation. Look at Brownstown’s Gang Resistance and Education Training Program (GREAT) Sergeant Paul Kolonich.
“When we started this program 19 years ago we had gang homicides in the township and today it is tough to find graffiti. The fire mileage was another example of us working together to make Brownstown better. The lives saved as a result of its passage matter, not only to the husband, wife, son, mother, daughter, but also to those whom were saved and what they can now do with this gift. What would you do with a second chance at life?”
Market adapts to its new prime location next to Event Center
The Brownstown Farmers Market is in full swing at its new location in the west parking lot of the Brownstown Event Center, 23345 King Road. The weather has been a little stormy for a few Tuesdays but the vendors didn’t despair. They were able to set up their booths inside the Event Center.
The Farmers Market continues to offer theme days each week. Coming up are:
● Aug. 5 — Kids’ Day with free Home Depot workshops, face painting and much more.
● Aug. 12 — Detroit Institute of Arts Inside|Out Day with art demonstrations and crafting and walking tours of the DIA Inside|Out paintings
● Aug. 19 — Family Fitness Day with yoga and pilates demonstrations, healthy living talks and much more
● Aug. 26 — Dog Day at the Market with pet adoptions from the Brownstown Animal Shelter, pet care tips and more.
The Brownstown Farmers Market continues until Sept. 30. This is the fourth year for the market. Each year the market has added more vendors and more customer traffic.
Most of the vendors from the previous season has returned. Included are DTL Herbs, OMG Hot Sauce, The Blueberry Man, Detroit Mini-donuts/lemonade, Suzanne’s Sweet Treats, Kathy’s Pavers, Steal Beautiful Soap Company, Mill Street Bakery, The Meat Guy, Happy Harvest, Little Peggy’s Creations, A Serendipity Cakery and Deb’s Produce.
“We are very excited to be adding Alexander Ball from Old City Acres as a produce vendor along with Flying Otter Winery, Hippie Chick Herbal Harmony and the Granola Tree,” DDA Assistant Director Sue Trussell said. “The Market and Pico De Gallo Restaurant will be back serving up delicious meals for you to purchase as you shop.”
Follow the Brownstown Farmers Market on Facebook. Contact Trussell (734) 675-5911 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Outdoor art gallery opens this month
Brownstown Township was chosen as one of nine communities in the metro Detroit area to be part of the Detroit Institute of Arts Inside|Out summer program.
A kickoff event is planned for 6 p.m. Monday, Aug. 18, at the Brownstown Event Center, 23345 King Road. There will be local caterers and other businesses serving food and drinks. It is open to the public and there is no charge. The food vendors will have items available to purchase. The DIA maps will be available and visitors can take a tour of the artwork.
Now in its fifth year, the Inside|Out will bring reproductions of masterpieces from the DIA’s collection to outdoor locations in the Brownstown Recreation Campus. The locations will include the Dog Parks, the Clock Tower, the Community Gardens and the Historical Museum.
There will be seven full-size reproductions of DIA’s artwork throughout the Recreation Campus. The DDA is busy planning many events surrounding the Inside|Out program. Some examples include walking tours, bike tours and wine tasting.
If you are a business or non-profit group that would be interested in partnering with the Downtown Development Authority on an event, please contact Sue Trussell at (734) 675-5911 or email@example.com.
Many more details and maps will be available through the DDA Web site. Right now, you can check out the DIA’s Inside|Out program Facebook page by visiting www.face-book.com/dia.insideout
This program is sponsored by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.
Over the past four years, the DIA has installed more than 700 reproductions in 98 communities.
“We’re excited to embark on the fifth year of Inside|Out,” said Graham Beal, DIA director. “It’s been amazing to see how Inside|Out has grown over the past four years, fostering both creativity and pride among residents within their communities.”
Redhawk Landing will offer region new twist on ‘apartment’ living
By Vern Gustafsson
The Brownstown area will be home to two brand new, single-story apartment communities. Redwood Living, a company based out of Ohio, is the premier developer and manager of these communities.
The township demonstrated that the apartment market in Brownstown is healthy and the demand for higher-end apartments appears to be significant enough to justify new construction. Redwood realized this opportunity and plans to break ground on Redhawk Landing in 2014 and Peninsula Ridge in 2015.
Redhawk Landing will consist of 115 brand new apartment homes conveniently located near the northwest corner of Telegraph and West roads in the Brownstown Town Center. In addition, Redwood will be building Peninsula Ridge, a sister community to Redhawk Landing.
Peninsula Ridge will host 138 new units and will be located across the street from Redhawk Landing on the south side of West Road. These locations will have easy access to I-75 as well as a strong connection on Telegraph Road and Dix-Toledo. These strategically placed communities will be close to shopping, dining, public resources, and other services.
Both developments represent the township’s vision, which is to ensure that new residential development is of the highest quality, protects the character of the established neighborhoods and natural features, and provides an appropriate balance of housing based upon demographic trends and projections.
Redhawk Landing and Peninsula Ridge will be embodiments of Redwood Living’s beliefs on the importance of site planning and development and they will improve and protect the site’s existing natural features.
The company’s unique style and method of building introduces single level, clustered units to increase the protection of native features. They will also manage storm water through preservation of natural drainage and provide on-site storm water detention, wetland mitigation/preservation and woodland protection.
In 1991 Redwood Living based its innovative processes on what their residents wanted, not what the developer wanted. Redwood communities provide their residents with a smart, single-story design and private attached garages for convenience. They are also conscious of choosing the right building materials to create energy efficient apartment homes to save their residents money on utility costs.
Redwood apartment communities grew rapidly across northern Ohio and are now expanding into Michigan, Indiana and other parts of Ohio. They now have developed upwards of more than 3,000 units and plan to continually expand their distinct product. A Redwood apartment gives a general feel of home in a peaceful, comfortable and maintenance-free setting.
Visit www.byRedwood.com for more information.
Vern Gustafsson is assistant director of the Brownstown Downtown Development Authority.
CMAC building new world headquarters on Sibley
BY JOHN ROBERT
CMAC, a family owned transportation firm located on Sibley Road near I-75 is building a brand new facility nearby — on the side that formerly served as home to the Par Fection driving range.
“I thought we would have plenty of space here, and now we’re busting at the seams” company President Scott Christie said of the office and warehouse space they are leasing from Ashley Capitol at the Brownstown Business Center off of Sibley Road.
The Christies plan to turn the new site into their world headquarters.
The first phase of construction consists of a massive six-bay maintenance facility.
Christie said that the company currently uses a two-bay facility that is too small for its needs. This new facility, at 20,000 square feet, is 10 times the size of the current one. It will be, like everything CMAC plans to build, state-of-the-art.
Christie explained that to make sure the facility was unparalleled in the region, CMAC had its project manager visit multiple truck maintenance facilities in the area.
“We wanted to see what worked, what didn’t, and what changes they would have made if they had the opportunity,” Christie said.
The result was a focus on safety, as well as making the tools and equipment mechanics need readily available. For example, a 5-ton crane with its tracks hidden in the wall will allow safer, simpler movement of engines, transmissions, or other massive parts into the build room, where they can be worked on.
Because CMAC is in a lease with Ashley Capitol for another two years, Christie said the rest of the construction will occur at a more gradual pace.
Besides the addition of 125,000 square feet of warehouse space (added to their 280,000 square feet worth of space at their current facilities, which they will maintain), CMAC will also be constructing a large office building.
“Our goal is to get all of our staff under one main office, where people are more accessible to each other,” explained Christie. The staff is spread across three different offices in its current building.
Christie’s excitement is contagious, and the new office building, which will feature a glass atrium, can be expected to be a pleasure to look at.
The company also is focusing on only using local contractors and labor. From architecture to construction, Christie says that just as CMAC has benefited from their location, the company enjoys being able to help other local businesses.
That local experience has also helped CMAC have a smooth relationship with the Brownstown Township. Christie was thankful that for their “familiarity with the hurdles and standards a building needs to meet.”
He said that the Township has been phenomenal to work with, citing, among other examples, permits that can sometimes take up to a year to receive being processed in just a few months. It has allowed them to prepare for the tempest of construction that the area will be experiencing.
In all, Christie approximates the development will represent a $10 million investment in the area.
As one might expect, the re-establishment of the automotive industry in the region has been a great boon to CMAC. Besides the Flat Rock plant, a Jeep plant in Toledo has also given them a great deal of business.
However, CMAC learned their lesson from the recession, and no longer puts all their eggs in one basket. Christie estimates that 65 to 70 percent of CMAC’s business is based around the automotive industry, as opposed to a few years ago, when it made up nearly all of their storage and shipping. Customers such as Eastman Chemical (formerly Solutia) have helped them make this transition.
CMAC boasts more than 300 employees, 160 trucks and 200 drivers. With the new construction, Christie is proud to say those numbers should climb even higher, and he looks forward to growing with the Township.
“It’s going to create more jobs, it’s going to create more activity, it’s going to give us more exposure, and it gives us a strong base in Brownstown,” he said. “We don’t plan on leaving; we’re real happy to get this going.”
New facility is available for rental
Conveniently located on King Road between Telegraph and Dix/Toledo Roads and less than a mile from I-75 freeway in the Brownstown Recreation Campus, the new Event Center is an ideal setting for weddings, bridal and baby showers, reunions, birthday parties and business meetings — with outdoor space including a front lawn, stage and lawn seating available, too.
This beautiful new Event Center has floor-to-ceiling windows with breathtaking views of the scenic outdoor spaces surrounding the building. The 2,800-square-foot building can accommodate 300-plus in theater-style seating and approximately 180 with tables.
Friday and Saturday Rental
8 hours — $625
Sunday through Thursday
8 hours — $425
Each additional hour is $15. Clean up service available for $225. An attendant is on site during all rentals.
Included in your rental fee is a state-of-the-art catering kitchen with new tables and chairs to fit your needs. Table linens are available to rent at $5 each.
Call the Brownstown Parks and Recreation Department for more information and to schedule a tour at (734) 675-0920.
Outdoor Event Space
Natural, scenic outdoor setting is also available to rent for your event needs. The front lawn is 65-by-75 feet and is ideal for an outdoor party.
The back area has an outdoor stage with lawn seating and would be perfect for any event — or just a place to relax during your event.
Outdoor space is an additional $150 Sundays through Thursdays and $300 Fridays and Saturdays.
This event space is perfect for an outdoor wedding ceremony under the hand-crafted stone arch with a picturesque fountain as a backdrop with the wedding reception inside the Event Center.
Battery plant to benefit from GM plan to bring production in-house
General Motors will bring all its electric vehicle battery building capabilities in-house with production of battery systems for the 2015 Chevrolet Spark EV at its battery assembly plant in Brownstown Township.
“Using our in-house engineering and manufacturing expertise enabled us to deliver a battery system that is more efficient and lighter than the 2014 Spark EV without sacrificing range,” said Larry Nitz, executive director of GM global transmission and electrification engineering. “Our successful working relationship with LG Chem has allowed us to deliver a new battery system for the Spark EV that helps us to better leverage our economies of scale.”
A newly designed battery system features an overall storage capacity of 19 kWh and uses 192 lithium ion cells. The battery system weight of 474 pounds is 86 pounds lighter than the system in the 2014 Spark EV. The Spark EV battery is built on a dedicated production line at Brownstown, which also manufactures complete battery packs for the Chevrolet Volt, Opel Ampera and Cadillac ELR.
Changes in battery design will not affect the Spark’s MPGe, or gasoline equivalent, performance compared to the 2014 model. Range will remain at an EPA-rated 82 miles and MPGe will remain at 119.
Priced at $19,995 with full federal incentives, The Spark EV is one of the most efficient — and affordable — all-electric vehicles available. Currently on sale in California and Oregon, the 2015 Spark EV features segment-leading technology including Siri Eyes Free, 4G LTE and DC Fast Charging.
Brownstown Battery Assembly’s 479,000-square-foot, landfill-free facility is located on Brownstown Center Drive near I-75 between King and Sibley roads. It produces the lithium-ion battery packs for GM’s extended-range electric vehicles.
It started mass production in October 2010 and is the first high-volume manufacturing site in the U.S. operated by a major automaker for automotive lithium-ion battery production. The site was made possible with the help of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding through the U.S. Department of Energy.
Earlier this year, GM had announced that it was investing an additional $65 million in the Brownstown plant as part of $449 million in new investments to prepare for the next generation of electric vehicles and advanced battery technologies. The bulk of the other investment dollars is going into the Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly Plant.
“General Motors is committed to building award-winning products and developing technologies in America, which helps to grow our economy from a resurgent auto industry,” said Gerald Johnson, GM North America Manufacturing vice president. “These investments will help the next-generation Chevrolet Volt build on its position as the leader in electrified propulsion.”
The GM investment at Brownstown Battery Assembly will support the next generation of lithium-ion battery production and future battery systems.
Since 2009, GM has announced more than $5.4 billion in U.S. facility investment for vehicle technologies that benefit customers. This includes more than $2.8 billion invested in Michigan-based facilities alone.