Improving our community in the New Year
Posted on 01/21/2021
Mayor Brian Turnbull Northvillians and Friends,  

These are historic times as we are coming together as a nation. Locally, we’re finding ways to ease the impact of the pandemic on our community and rallying around projects to improve the Ville.

As the Mayor of Northville, I want to thank you for all you have done to assist others through this pandemic journey as we begin a New Year. I appreciate your outreach with seniors, youth and Civic Concern, your support of our business community and your work through your churches and other organizations during these tumultuous times. I also want to share some exciting new initiatives that will benefit both Northville and surrounding communities.

Starting in 2019, I spent time at many local neighborhood gatherings where citizens asked how they could apply their time and talents to help improve the community. Additionally, I met with over 150 of our Chamber members to gain their insights, as well as their vision for the City. In response to these conversations, we have created new opportunities for area residents to share their time and talents. Further, many of you reinforced my own thoughts – that our community is poised for insightful, dynamic changes that will benefit not only our City, but much of Southeastern Michigan.

From all this, we know that Northville is clearly a vibrant and growing community. But it’s also clear our town needs additional financial support to develop new activities and experiences that would benefit both residents and visitors. In fact, many exciting initiatives (creating a City Riverwalk, enhancing Ford Field and making new plans for the Farmers’ Market) may qualify for public grant funding and even attract corporate sponsorships if we provide the match of local dollars. Building a long-term foundation of financial support for special initiatives is essential to sustaining the City’s momentum and growth.

For this reason, the Northville Community Support Fund (NCSF) was established in late 2020 and functions as a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, all for the assistance of the Northville area. To activate and enable growth of the NCSF, the organization’s website was launched in early January, announcing “our story and our purpose” and offering everyone the opportunity to donate. The link is here.  

Now the rest of the story …

In response to all the public support, special task forces working on projects to enhance our City’s future were established and approved unanimously by City Council. I was astonished by the dozens of citizens volunteering for each of these initiatives. They are making tremendous progress. Let me summarize their efforts:

The Northville Rouge River Restoration and River Walk Task Force
• The Middle Rouge River, its tributaries and creeks are valuable natural assets for both the City of Northville as well as the region. These waterways have provided aesthetic, recreational and economic benefits to the community for nearly 200 years.

• The Task Force is working to … Improve the ecological health of the City’s waterways while also restoring the natural beauty and expanding community access and recreation with a system of public trails referred to as The Riverwalk.

Farmers’ Market Task Force
• The Northville Farmers' Market has been in operation since the 1920s. Today, under the sponsorship and leadership of the Northville Chamber, the market has become a highly valued, award-winning activity. The current location of the Farmers’ Market could ultimately be changed because of development.

• This Task Force is working to … Build on the Chamber’s success by supporting them on their vision of a sustainable, fun, and flourishing Farmers' Market for both the near-term and for our next generation … and that includes investigating possible enhancements and potential new locations.

Ford Field Central Park Task Force
• Since Henry Ford came to Northville nearly a century ago and purchased this land, Ford Field has been used for community gatherings and recreation. Our desire is to improve this historic, beloved park with better access and renewed use of its naturally beautiful hills, water and greenspace for the benefit of all citizens.

• This Task Force is working to ... Re-establish Ford Field as a central gathering space, creating a destination for families, young people and all in the area, with inviting access, fun recreation, and entertainment, along with educational and cultural activities.

Sustainability Team (Ensuring environmental, social and economic resilience long-term)
• While most people primarily associate sustainability with environmental conservation, it’s also about people and the health of our community.

• Team Mission: To implement a comprehensive sustainability platform designed to protect and enhance our resources, prevent harm to the natural environment and our health, while benefiting the long-term social and economic well-being of our City.
Northville’s Downtown Development Authority (DDA) Social District

• Support for our local businesses in our historic downtown is paramount. It has been especially crucial this year (without a strong business sector, we cannot have a strong community).

• With the advent of coronavirus restrictions, Northville was one of the first to create a social district for citizens and visitors to stroll our closed downtown streets. This allowed restaurants to expand outdoor seating. This winter, new vendor and warming pods were added, creating a festive ambiance with music and fire pits along with food and beverages.

My parents taught me to learn, do and give back, and I’m dedicating the rest of my life to the betterment of this community. As you have just read, there are many opportunities to enhance our City, to promote its natural beauty, sustain the dynamic energy of our downtown and create something special through anticipated developments. And tomorrow … NCSF could be supporting our Bicentennial (2027) with history landmarks, experiences and special events that will benefit all in the community.

If you have any questions about the NCSF, the Board of Directors, who have volunteered their time and talents, or how to get involved further, please contact me.

Keep that Northville Faith!

Brian P. Turnbull
Mayor – Northville