Laura Moreau, Supervisor
December 30, 2022
Master Plan Moves Forward with Outstanding Public Participation
Public participation is a major component of the master planning process, and Springfield residents jumped right in to help! THANK YOU to the 249 citizens who completed a survey and the more than 100 who participated in the Open House activities on November 29.
All who are interested in learning about the public input are invited to attend the January 2023 Planning Commission Meeting. Our planning consultant will present a summary of the results and discuss next steps in the Master Plan process. The Planning Commission will meet on Tuesday, January 24 at 7:00 pm in the Civic Center Meeting Room – See you there!
Mill Pond Dam Project Gets Green Light for Construction Phase
Springfield Township and Oakland County have extensively explored options for the Davisburg Mill Pond Dam. Due to the age of the dam and based on information from a 2011 engineering study and 2015 video inspection, the Mill Pond Dam has significant deficiencies and associated safety/liability issues.
Following a five-year effort which included a comprehensive feasibility study, investigation of various alternatives to replace or remove the dam, multiple public outreach meetings, engineering, permitting, and two rounds of bidding, the dam removal and river corridor restoration project will move forward in 2023.
The Oakland County Parks & Recreation Commission reviewed final bids and staff recommendations at their meeting on December 7, 2022, and awarded the contract to the lowest qualified bidder, Anglin Civil, LLC. On December 8, the Springfield Township Board concurred with the bid award and committed to a 45% contribution of the net project cost.
Construction is anticipated to commence in May 2023. More details on the construction schedule will be available in the coming months.
To view a summary presentation and Township Board discussion, click here for the meeting video (select Mill Pond Dam Project in the Index Points or advance to 3:24). Or visit the dedicated Mill Pond Dam webpage to review the Feasibility Report, engineering and concept plans, and other materials.
Construction Underway on Woodland Airstream
Eleven months after receiving Final Site Plan and Special Land Use approval in December 2021, Woodland Airstream finally broke ground in November. This luxury RV dealership will be located on Dixie Highway, between Frosty Freeze and Premium Truck & Auto Body.
The project was approved consistent with the Dixie Highway Design Guidelines and will include a pedestrian walkway, fencing detail, decorative lighting, and a community gathering space. With 65% of this 16-acre parcel devoted to landscape and open space, Woodland Airstream will enhance the corridor with its natural aesthetic and low-density site design.
For a complete overview of the project, click here to watch the Board Meeting video. Select Woodland Airstream in the Index Points or advance to 2:15.
October 14, 2022
FAQs – Oakland County’s Transportation Millage
As absentee ballots hit mailboxes for the November 8 General Election, questions are coming in regarding the County’s Transportation Millage proposal. Below are answers to frequently asked questions.
- On August 10, the Oakland County Board of Commissioners approved placing a millage question on the November 8 General Election ballot to fund public transportation in the County.
- If approved, the millage will be a new property tax at a rate of .95 mills for a period of 10 years.
- Unlike prior transit millage proposals, this millage does not allow the Springfield Township Board to vote to opt out.
- Every Springfield property owner will have to pay the new tax if the millage proposal is approved by a majority of Oakland County voters.
- Springfield seniors and disabled residents currently have access to a door-to-door transportation program through a collaboration with the Independence Township Senior Center.
- Springfield helps support the program by transferring its SMART municipal credits to Independence Township and by contributing Community Development Block Grant funds to the Senior Center.
- If it passes, the transit millage will cost taxpayers $95 per $100,000 of taxable value each year.
- County-wide it is expected to generate over $66 million annually.
- Based on current taxable value, Springfield property owners would contribute over $730,000 each year to fund the County system.
- The Board of Commissioners has not provided a needs assessment or other foundation for how they determined this budget and tax rate.
- The Board of Commissioners did not seek input from Springfield or other local governments before voting to place the millage question on the November 8 ballot.
- The County’s “Oakland Transit” webpage lists goals for expanding service but indicates that local service details have not been developed.
- There is no indication of a demand for public transit in Springfield beyond what is already provided through the Independence Senior Center transportation program.
- Regardless of Springfield’s transit needs and potential services, over $730,000 per year will be collected from Springfield taxpayers if the majority of voters in the County vote yes on the millage.
We Need Your Input!
New Township Master Plan in Development
Township officials and staff have been working on a new community Master Plan. Once completed, this plan will set the vision and policy goals for Springfield over the next 15-20 years.
Public participation is a major component of the master planning process, and we need your input!
Below are five different opportunities to contribute to “The Path Ahead for Springfield Township.” Please also visit the Master Plan website for more information.
- Complete the Survey – Tell us about your experiences in Springfield and what you want for the future. The survey takes about 15-20 minutes and covers key areas on housing, economic development, transportation, parks and recreation, and senior services.
- Share Your Vision – Post a picture or comment on PictureThis! to show us what you like about Springfield or what you want to see in the future. You can add pictures and ideas of things you’ve seen elsewhere, or just add a photo of something you already love about our township! Click the link and hit “Share!” to get started. (Find complete directions here.)
- Attend the Open House – Join us at the Civic Center meeting room on Tuesday, November 29 between 6-8pm. The whole family is invited to participate in this interactive visioning session!
- Host a Focus Group – Gather friends from your neighborhood, lake association, HOA, club, or social group and discuss how you’d like to improve our community. Toolkits are available at the Township offices with materials and directions for a successful meeting.
- Join the Conversation – Work will continue during regularly scheduled Planning Commission meetings. Citizens are always welcome!
September 12, 2022
Road Construction on Dixie Highway
The Road Commission for Oakland County has added to their Preservation Overlay Program and Dixie Highway is included in the late summer schedule. Construction is expected to begin during the week of September 12.
The Dixie Highway project includes the entire Springfield stretch from I-75 to Oak Hill Road. The road surface will be milled and then 2 – 2 ½ inches of new asphalt is applied. Dixie will remain open to traffic during construction but please be prepared for lane closures and delays until about September 25.
A preservation overlay is used for heavier-traveled roads considered in moderately good shape. This technique will extend the life of Dixie Highway another 5 to 10 years until a full reconstruction project can be done. For more information about the Preservation Overlay Program, you can watch this short video or contact RCOC customer service with questions at 248-858-4804.
The Whoopee Bowl was a discount surplus store on Dixie Highway. It was famous among northern Oakland County residents and even folks from around the state would travel there to buy surplus items and experience the festival-like atmosphere. The Whoopee Bowl shut down many years ago, but long-time residents will forever remember when “the Springfield mall” was the place to find whatever you need.
Thanks to current owner, Jim Wilson, The Whoopee Bowl is making a comeback. This time around, the store will be a marketplace for antiques and collectibles and will be joined by Rusty Relics.
The Planning Commission granted final site plan approval at their August 23 meeting and the project has moved to final engineering review. The site will be redeveloped to incorporate standards of the Dixie Highway Design Guidelines including pathways, pedestrian lighting, natural landscape, and the fieldstone and cedar accent fence. The main building will be renovated with a craftsman style façade in earthtones with stone pillars and shake accents. The existing apartment building will remain on the site and will get a facelift and new streetscape elements to coordinate with the retail store.
August 3, 2022
Voters Pass ALS Millage
The dedicated Advanced Life Support millage passed on August 2 with nearly 74% of voters in favor. Thank you to all 3,924 residents who voted on the proposal. We are grateful for your overwhelming support as we improve and expand the emergency services provided by Springfield Township Fire Department.
June 16, 2022
Advanced Life Support Millage Proposal Information
Due to a greater demand for emergency medical care, uncertain availability of Advanced Life Support units responding to Springfield, and increased response times from private ambulance companies, a dedicated millage is proposed so this critical service can be provided by our Fire Department.
Springfield Township has been monitoring response times and call volume over the years and determined last fall that it is time to make a change in how Advanced Life Support services are provided to our community.
Before the start of an Advanced Life Support trial program in November 2021, Springfield relied on a private ambulance company to provide ALS services, with back-up aid coming from surrounding departments. In recent years, the private ambulances were being dispatched from farther and farther away, often having to make a run to Springfield from Pontiac. This has led to long waits for our residents when urgent care is needed.
Since 2019, the response times from the private ambulance company were averaging over 17 minutes. Based on results of the trial Advanced Life Support program, medical call response times from our Springfield Township Fire Department reduced average response to under 7 ½ minutes.
This is a great improvement in service for our citizens; however, the current Fire Department funding and staffing that supports the trial ALS program is not sufficient to sustain Advanced Life Support services long-term. That is why a dedicated ALS millage proposal is on the ballot this August 2. The millage proposal is for ¾ of a mill for a period of 10 years. That rate would cost 75 cents per $1,000 of taxable value – or about $94 per year for the average Springfield Township property owner.
The additional funding would be used to increase staffing of Paramedics and Emergency Medical Technicians, enhance station coverage, and base two ALS ambulances at our Fire Stations 1 and 2.
For more information, please review the FACT SHEET or visit the Advanced Life Support Information webpage. Sample ballots, informational videos, and other materials will be posted to the webpage in the coming weeks.
Civic Center Parking Lot Improvements Underway
This March marked the 20th anniversary of the Springfield Township Civic Center. The building has been beautifully maintained over the years and doesn’t show its age; however, the deep cracks and heaving in the parking lots tell a different story.
20 years is the life expectancy for asphalt paving and it’s time for a full replacement. The Township Board has been setting aside funds and planning for the parking lot improvements for several years and authorized a construction contract in May.
The project will address storm drainage issues in the upper lot, expand parking in the lower lot, and resurface the entry drive and both parking lots.
The lower lot is planned for expansion with 16 new paved spaces and overflow parking that will blend with the lawn area.
The project will be completed in three phases beginning with the lower lot. Construction on the lower lot will begin on Monday, June 20 and is expected to take up to 10 days. During this phase, the lower lot will be closed, and all parking will be directed to the upper lot by the library entrance. Visitors can use the stairway or elevator to access the Township offices, Building Department, and Parks & Recreation on the lower level.
During phase 2 all parking will move to the newly expanded lower lot. With the required drainage work, this phase is expected to take two full weeks. The final phase will be to repave the entrance drive. If project timing and weather cooperate, all construction should be wrapped up by July 18.
Updates on progress and lot closures will be posted at the Civic Center entrances and on the Township website and cable channel. Citizens who registered for alerts through the website also will be notified by email.
Since the Springfield Garden Club launched their daffodil project in 2019, springtime in Springfield has meant thousands of beautiful yellow blooms throughout the township.
The club was inspired by Daffodils4Detroit, a city beautification effort of the Michigan Division of Women’s Farm and Garden Association. The project has expanded to other communities and over 2,000,000 bulbs have been planted so far.
Our Springfield Garden Club set a goal to plant one bulb for each resident—that’s nearly 15,000 daffodils! After three seasons of planting, there are over 6,000 currently in bloom at the Civic Center, fire stations, cemeteries, parks, and Township entrance sign. Thousands more will be planted this fall.
Thank you, Garden Club for this beautiful community project that will welcome spring for years to come!
Cathy Forst Honored for 43 Years of Service as Library Director
Please join the library staff in celebrating Cathy Forst’s 43 years of service.
Thank you, Cathy for founding and growing Springfield’s amazing library! Our community is grateful to you for your vision and decades of dedicated service.
Springfield’s Habitat Critical to Recovery of Endangered Butterfly
The high-quality prairie habitats which the Poweshiek Skipperling depends on for survival exist in Springfield Township and almost nowhere else on earth! Springfield’s Natural Resources Manager Mike Losey is working along with other organizations in the United States and Canada to help recover populations of this special butterfly. Toward those efforts, the Township has been managing critical habitats by removing invasive plant species and enhancing conditions so the native plants the Poweshiek relies on will thrive.
Recently, the Fish and Wildlife Service convened a group of species experts, conservation groups, and government entities to collaboratively draft a species recovery plan that will help achieve goals and actions to de-list the species in coming years. Implementing this plan will result in improving existing habitat, protecting additional land, and other conservation actions for the benefit of this species. These actions will improve the long-term survival of numerous other common and uncommon plant and wildlife species as well.
To learn more about the species recovery plan, see this article in Bridge Michigan. Or experience Springfield’s beautiful and rare natural resources in-person with Mike Losey on an upcoming GUIDED FIELD TOUR!
April 25, 2022
UPDATE – Fire Department Transition to Advanced Life Support services
At the April 14 Township Board meeting, Fire Chief Feichtner and members of the Board conducted an in-depth analysis of the trial ALS phase and reviewed projections for increased personnel expenses and potential transport revenue. The goal with the phased transition to ALS was to have five months of data to help the Board determine what additional funding will be needed to support ALS long term. After exploring personnel costs of various coverage models, reviewing data on response and mutual aid, researching pay and benefits offered by area departments, and monitoring transport revenue, the Board determined that a dedicated millage of 0.75 mill is needed to provide Advanced Life Support services by our Fire Department.
The Township Board approved submitting a proposition to our electors at the August 2 primary election for an additional ALS millage of 0.75 mill for a period of ten years (2022 through 2031). Township staff and Fire Department personnel will be developing fact sheets, recorded presentations, and other communications for residents in the coming weeks. Please watch for more information.
Dollar General Coming to North End of Dixie Corridor
Construction is underway on a new 9,100 square foot Dollar General. The retail store will be directly north of Four Seasons Inn, across Dixie Highway from the Springrove community.
During site plan review, the Dollar General team worked with the Township to incorporate building materials, colors, and trim accents that will be complementary to the character of the area and meet the architectural standards of our zoning ordinance. Construction is expected to be completed by the end of July.
20 years later the Civic Center is paid off and ready to serve our community for decades to come. We’re fortunate that those involved in the initial design had the foresight to plan for growth and anticipate the changing needs and uses of the building. The open-concept layout and shared spaces are an efficient use of the building and further provide flexibility to reconfigure and expand departments as needed. Most recently, the Building Department was relocated to the previous Assessing area and we’re working on plans to build out a new Sheriff’s Substation in the former Building Department space.
The community owes our gratitude for the efforts of past and current Board members including Collin Walls, Dave Hopper, Denny Vallad, Nancy Strole, and Jamie Dubre for their thoughtful budget planning and bond management.
A tremendous THANK YOU to the Friends of the Library, supporters of our Parks & Recreation, and the many citizens of Springfield who worked hard to pass the bond proposal. Clearly our residents saw the need for the Civic Center and recognized the value and fiscal responsibility of developing a shared building.
Lastly, thanks to Mike Forst, Jerry David, and all the facilities staff who have done an exceptional job maintaining the Civic Center over the years. It’s remarkable how many times we hear from visitors that the building looks brand new.
To celebrate the 20 year milestone, join the festivities at the Springfield Township Library during the week of March 21-26. There will be several displays, activities for children, and a chance to sign a birthday card for the building. Click here for more info.
Building Department Improved Service & Expanded Hours
At their January meeting, the Township Board determined to transition the Building Department from a contracted operation to a Township-managed and staffed service. As of Monday, February 14, the Building Department was up and running with Township staff in the new location within the main offices.
Our Building Official, Bill Dinnan manages the department, and conducts building inspections and plan review. The daily operations are administered by the Building Department Clerk, Brian Piper. The Township also contracts with other building professionals for plumbing, mechanical, and electrical inspections.
The Building Department is now available to serve residents during expanded hours. Previously the department had reduced hours Monday to Thursday and was closed on Friday. The Department is now open for business during the same hours as other Township Offices, Monday—Friday 8:30 am to 4:30 pm.
Holly Schools Bond Proposal
For those residing within the Holly Area School District, there will be an election on May 3 to vote on a bond proposal.
If approved, this bond proposal would provide $97,000,000 for district-wide improvements including developing a new middle school at the Karl Richter Campus, upgrading instructional technology, installing new STEM furnishings, creating a career lab, and building a new construction trades center at the High School.
Facilities for arts and athletics also are planned for improvements including modernizing the theater, creating a marching band practice field, expanding the tennis complex, and constructing a new turf athletic field and track surface.
According to the district website, this bond proposal would not increase the current tax rate and was developed and prioritized as Phase 2 of the Master Plan for district facilities. For more information see this fact sheet and the Building Graphics of Project Improvements, or visit the Holly Schools bond webpage.
January 31, 2022
Springfield Township Fire Department Now Providing Advanced Life Support Services
The Springfield Township Fire Department has started the fourth month of a “trial phase” transition to provide Advanced Life Support (ALS) services. Previously Springfield relied entirely on a private ambulance company and aid from surrounding departments for access to advanced emergency medical care and transport services in our community.
For many years the Township Board and Fire Chief have been monitoring call volume and response times and planning internally for an eventual transition to ALS. Recently a greater demand for emergency medical care combined with increased response times from the private provider indicate it is time for our Fire Department to provide this critical service for our residents.
The transition to full ALS will be done in phases. This first trial phase allows the department to begin improving service and response time without significantly changing our coverage model. It also provides five months to monitor expenses and transport revenue potential so that the Board can determine what additional funding will be needed to support ALS long term. Watch for more updates in the coming months.
Major Step Toward Future Viability of Downtown Davisburg
After nearly two years, construction is complete on the Davisburg Community Septic System (DCSS) in downtown Davisburg. While the system was initially constructed to service one private business in town, the sewer pipe was designed to support future connections from other buildings on the south side of Broadway. The septic field also is engineered to be expanded.
At their January meeting, the Township Board approved using American Recovery Plan Act funds to reimburse the developer of the DCSS for his costs to construct the system. By effectively taking ownership of most of the DCSS facilities, the Board aims to simplify connections and future expansion of the field, make it easier and more affordable for others to join the system, and help protect public health and the environment. Before others can connect, the Board will need to complete a permitting process with the State, secure a maintenance contract, amend the ordinance, determine remaining capacity of the field, and establish connection, usage, and inspection fees. There is a tremendous amount of work yet to be done, but this is a major step for the future viability and economic growth of the town.
Click here to watch the Board’s discussion at the January meeting. Select Davisburg Community Sewer System in the Index Points or advance to 1:03 in the video.
New Construction at Kroger Development Outlot
The site of the old Kroger fuel received site plan approval for a three unit building in 2019. That project is finally underway. There will be a Dunkin Donuts at the drive-through unit but the Township has no word yet on additional tenants.
This project was reviewed subject to the Dixie Highway Design Guidelines and will be the first development on the north end of the district to incorporate the streetscape standards and other design elements.
Feldman Dealership Expanding to Add Stand-Alone Jeep Store
Construction is progressing on Feldman Jeep located across Dixie from the main dealership, just north of General RV. The building was initially proposed to fit the standard corporate branding, but the Feldman team worked with the Township to adjust their design consistent with the Design Guidelines. The plan review process resulted in a design that will compliment Springfield’s character and enhance the Dixie corridor.
Woodland Airstream is Coming to Springfield
This luxury RV dealership will be located on Dixie Hwy, between Frosty Freeze and Premium Truck & Auto Body. The Township Board concurred with the Planning Commission recommendation and granted Final Site Plan and Special Land Use approval at the December 9 Board Meeting. The project is now in Final Engineering Review.
This development entails 16 acres with a 24,000 sq. ft. building with a showroom, parts and accessories retail store, service intake area, and RV repair center. The landscaping will enhance the corridor with 65% of the site being landscape or open space. The project was approved consistent with the Dixie Highway Design Guidelines and will include a pedestrian walkway, fencing detail, decorative lighting, and a community gathering space.
For a complete overview of the project, click here to watch the Board Meeting video. Select Woodland Airstream in the Index Points or advance to 2:15.