Update: Downtown Livonia

Few issues in Livonia have the history or significance as a downtown Livonia. In 1967, Livonians first got their chance to weigh in on the topic of a downtown Livonia by way of a Livonia Jaycee Community Survey (1).

55 years later, Livonia Mayor Maureen Miller Brosnan revisited this topic in her 2022 State of the City address. In her speech, Miller-Brosnan unveiled the latest renderings of a reimagined Five Mile and Farmington intersection, a project she dubbed ‘Project Catalyst’. The nearly 3600 square-foot plot, currently housing the Livonia Senior Center, Officer Nehasil Park, and Sam’s Restaurant, was reimagined with apartment complexes, retail, dining, and townhouses.

This reimagination did not kickstart in the mayor’s office at city hall or in the boardroom of private developers. Instead, it was started by friends sharing wine and conversation one evening in 2015. One friend, Heather Douglas, brought up the idea and the friends This conversation led the friends to create the Downtown Livonia Partnership, the creation of a petition for a Downtown Livonia with nearly 2000 signers, and the attention of regional media outlets. The Partnership gained further momentum when early supporters then-Mayor Dennis Wright and City Council member Brandon Kritzman began working in an official capacity to materialize the movement. The Partnership was further legitimized when Douglas joined many city leaders to craft a master plan for Livonia (2). LivoniaVision21 materialized the future of a downtown Livonia, calling for three micro downtown centers and a major overhaul of zoning ordinances.

Vote.Run.Serve-Livonia got a chance to catch up with one of the friends and current Zoning Board of Appeals member, Tamara Oliverio, to talk downtown Livonia.

When asked to provide her personal vision of a downtown, Tamara replied that a downtown should be more of a gathering place for community, rather than just a location for dining or diverse housing options. She notes that the need for community has grown since the onset of the pandemic, where social distancing has resulted in social isolation some of the city’s most vulnerable.

Tamara noted that the partnership received strong support from young families, who struggle with providing safe destinations for children to socialize. As plans for a downtown Livonia become formalized, Tamara hopes the planners can continue to leverage some of Livonia’s 18,000 residents under the age of 18 to provide their perspective.

1- http://news-archive.plymouthlibrary.org/…/1967-02-15…

2- https://www.livoniavision21.com/

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