MUNDY TWP. — As the Hill Road corridor continues to grow in leaps and bounds, Mundy Township officials are directing more attention and resources to a strategic plan to encourage and manage the community’s central business district.
A group of representatives, including members of the board of trustees and the Corridor Improvement Authority, got together last week for a bus tour to take a closer look at the district and examine the potential for improvements and development.
“It was very eye-opening,” said Supervisor Tonya Ketzler. “You drive up and down the street every day and get to a point where you don’t see it, anymore. So, we had to take the time to see it so we know how to develop it.”
When the CIA meets in May, they will begin discussion of specific goals for the many, many acres of undeveloped property between Jennings and Fenton roads, the $179,000 in captured tax funds, and the health, safety and welfare of township residents and visitors.
“(We want to) decide what we want to be when we grow up,” said Ketzler, “what we’re going to leave our children and grandchildren. (We want to) think about what we can do tomorrow to build toward our future, what will make our people’s lives better.”
One of the benefits of managing growth around the Hill Road corridor is that it will help preserve the rural atmosphere in other areas of the community, she said.
“We want to keep the agricultural feel … to ensure business stays on Hill Road so we don’t corrupt the farmland,” Ketzler said.
Among the projects already in the works are a LaFontaine dealership, and a Biggby Coffee drive-through. There’s also a 100-unit condominium/ apartment complex planned for property near Fire Station 2 at Hill and Jennings roads.
“There are a number of vacant parcels, so growth is still occurring,” said township Manager Chad Young.
Though that growth provides an important tax base, it also brings challenges, in particular traffic flow and emergency vehicle access, he said.
“One initiative is how do we enable ingress and egress,” Young said.
Township officials will look at ways to ensure that drivers can enter and exit Hill Road safely and with minimal disruption to traffic flow. They’re also taking a look at roads like Hill-23 and Taylor drives, both of which dead-end.
One option for Hill-23 Drive involves extending the roadway west from the dead-end to Torrey Road.
The LaFontaine development will provide some relief for the Taylor Drive situation. LaFontaine will utilize the vacant, 80,000-square-foot Liberty building along with the surrounding property. The developers are working with the township on a plan to extend Taylor west and north, meeting Hill Road across from Gateway Drive.
Commercial development isn’t the only priority for the Hill Road Corridor. The recent opening of the 100-acre Mundy Commons park set the stage for a whole host of recreational opportunities, including extending the trails and linking to the non-motorized trail system in neighboring Grand Blanc Township.
Ketzler said plans for the park include fields for soccer and baseball, space for bocci ball, a farmer’s market, an amphitheater and unique attractions such as sculptures and a butterfly garden. Special activities will include tai chi and yoga.
“This could end up being downtown Mundy Township,” she said. “We want to combine history, science, education and exercise.”
Township officials also are working on getting the postal designation in the “Flint, 48507” area changed to “Mundy Township, 48507,” to promote a safer image and lower insurance rates.
Also, toward that end, some of the TIFA money could go toward signage to let visitors know the Metro Police Authority headquarters are located within the Hill Road Corridor.
Additional TIFA funds could be earmarked for façade improvement loans to businesses to improve their properties