Livonia’s residents have long wondered whether their town would ever get a downtown – a walkable place that residents of all ages can gather. In 1993, more than two decades before the Livonia Vision21 began conceptualizing three micro-downtowns – Plymouth Road named among them, Livonia’s business owners and elected representatives gathered to re-imagine the Plymouth Road corridor. The conversations led to the Plymouth Road Development Authority (PRDA), a development plan and tax increment plan meant to spur economic redevelopment along the Plymouth Road corridor.
The development plan had wide ambitions to revitalize economic development to the Plymouth Road corridor – even planning for the acquisition of the George Burns Theatre for the purposes of developing a non-profit performing arts center or community theatre. To fund these ambitions, the city approved levying a 2 mil tax on all Plymouth Road businesses operating within the city of Livonia. In the last few years, that tax levy has brought in an average of three quarters of a million dollars.
Over the two and a half decades that followed, the PRDA has focused on spending funds on beautifying the corridor. A significant effort PRDA paid for the installation of street lamps along Plymouth Road. In May of 2022, the PRDA pledged financial support towards “a long-range redevelopment plan for Rosedale Commons with the goal of creating functional, walkable and livable neighborhood areas.” The current mayoral administration is now pledging to use that funding to demolish the vacant Alfred Nobel library.
The demolition has been met with mixed feelings, drawing attention from current and former Livonians. Some residents are using the demolishment to call for a review of city services provided to residents south of 96. Council member Rob Donovic recently held a committee hearing on the redevelopment of Plymouth Road to discuss different approaches for using PRDA dollars. When talking to Vote.Run.Serve, Donovic said he’d like to see focused investment from the PRDA that continues to attract businesses to the area.
The development plan and tax increment plan are set to expire in 2027. Councilmen Donovic supports the extension. When asked about the future of the PRDA, the mayor responded by saying “The City anticipates amending the Plymouth Road Development Authority Development Plan and Tax Increment Financing Plan to extend the expiration deadline. At a minimum, the Authority will be asked to continue to take care of existing obligations, including streetlighting, irrigation, landscaping and other assets like plazas, fences and signage.
The Plymouth Road corridor was one of the areas identified in Livonia Vision 21 as a particularly strong opportunity for redevelopment, growth and investment. The Plymouth Road Development Authority is a key part of the toolkit in advancing the implementation of the master plan, and any new development plan for the area should largely take direction from residents’ needs and preferences identified in Livonia Vision 21.”
Residents can learn more about the Plymouth Road Development Authority and the original development plan by visiting this page – https://livonia.gov/…/Development-Plan-and-Tax…. Residents can review the city’s annual budget to review the PRDA’s projected tax capture and line item expenditures.
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