Downtown Northville is a an amazing town with a incredible future. The community is strong and passionate about its city. We are perfectly central to all major freeways, Ann Arbor, Detroit and many other hot destinations such as Royal Oak/Ferndale. We are absolutely a desired location on the West side. This blog was written to predict a positive future wrapped around growth and highlight current requirements for attracting a missing demographic. The demo issue can be easily addressed with simple downtown refinements suggested in this post.
Many assets currently exist in town such as its very health conscious community, Mill Race Village, Maybury State Park, Victorian history/architecture and amazing older manufacturing buildings which scream to be reclaimed. The Victorian festival and Halloween events have no comparisons. Our schools and our children underscore a great success here.
A Future Prediction:
Eventually Northville’s downtown will have a new and old part – town space will demand it. The horse race track is going to go away, it is just a matter of time. Popularity has radically eroded just as smoking has faded in this country. The only hope for them is to somehow majorly re-invent and soon. But even in a reinvention scenario they will only require a fraction of the existing space. So in any case it will still result in the coming of the new town concept. This will make us much bigger then Plymouth. When this does happen the downtown size will double and present us with great new opportunity to capture visions and dreams. Knowing the wonderful people here, I have complete confidence we will capitalize and write a great new chapter for this area.
In the following evolution phase Northville will introduce districts, old town(our current downtown), new town (horse track area), Mill Race and hopefully a restored warehouse district - historic manufactures Cadytown. I believe this is an inevitable outcome and will make us a better downtown then Plymouth. Grand old Plymouth is out of room today where Northville will have the required space to evolve into 2.0.
Suggestions for attracting young professionals, that can/should happen now:
- Small Warehouse District (We have the buildings/area to do this) Example: popular Distillery District in Toronto, see www.thedistillerydistrict.com.
- Better outdoor seating architecture on weekends. (close the roads every weekend) Quebec city is a prime example of an integrated and cohesive pedestrian converted road – Look at Rue Saint-Jean.
- Get a local brewery (every hip and trendy downtown now has one) Every European city center also has one which fits in with the character. A good brewery is a timeless staple in every town – as much as any church or cathedral.
- Farmers market venue upgrade (build a gathering structure x3 of what Plymouth has, anticipate other usage) It could function for many TBD events such as a winter chili cook off. Also make this a weekend event and not Thursday with 2PM close – current schedule is ridiculous.
- Gas lamp street lights to further set city apart.
- WiFi is cheap and should cover all of downtown. This attracts Techies and is another simple downtown addition Plymouth is missing.
- Bike/trail system. Northville is healthy and this network needs to be A++ rated.
- Charging stations, like it or not they are coming.
- Train station (clean up and highlight) historic resource on Main.
- Weekend German fashioned Biergartens, sponsored/supported by local restaurants/bars.
- More adult friendly events, our fair lineup currently is not mindful of what people want to do after 6PM. It is reflected in our ghost town image after 8PM. Some fresh fest ideas below:
- EV Car fair (be first downtown to show forward thinking support, introduce others, involve/gain B3 support)
- Made in Michigan fair (take this back from Ferndale) maybe rebrand as Pure Michigan fair
- Victorian fest (make more adult friendly, desperately needed)
- Tech fest (show we are geek friendly)
- Local Restaurant food fest (currently we don’t have enough dining)
- Create music genre weekend fests – Blues, Jazz, Reggae, Rock, Classic Rock, Electronic, etc…
I believe this blog will be a sounding board for many other resident inputs and look forward to hearing them. These changes are coming to our downtown and there is no stopping them. Hopefully this expedites the refinement and change presented.
2 cents, Downtown Northville Resident