Fouts: New courthouse, condos and more coming to Warren
Warren — Warren Mayor James Fouts announced plans Wednesday for ambitious civic projects, including downtown condos, a senior center and a new 37th District courthouse, during his annual state of the city address.
Fouts also touted fiscal accomplishments, including more than $10 million in overtime savings and the reduction of his office staff from 12 to six since 2008.
More than 300 people who attended the luncheon address at the Andiamo restaurant took time from plates of pasta and chicken to digest and applaud Fouts’ vision for Michigan's third-largest city.
“These are big projects that I know will make Warren a destination — and it's all going to happen,” Fouts said as he discussed the projects, some to begin this year.
Fouts ticked off a list of improvements he said will help Warren establish its identity. Among them:
--A new 37th District Courthouse, near its current location, to replace an outdated building Fouts described as “50 years old.”
--A downtown development across Van Dyke that will include a pedestrian bridge over the road to a hotel, upscale retail shops and condos
--Town Center condos now under construction, to be followed by a residential development for seniors downtown.
--A new Nine Mile-Van Dyke branch library to be built next to a 24-hour police station and mini-city hall this fall.
--The renovation of a former elementary school into a senior recreation activities center, one of five in the city.
In his nearly one-hour address, the 76-year-old Fouts — who will seek a fourth term as mayor later this year — boasted of Warren’s road improvement and sewage treatment and detention projects, which he called “both second to none in Michigan.”
Fouts said the city is expending nearly $30 million in road improvements on 12 and 14 Mile roads, Hayes Road, Hoover, Martin, Frazho and many neighborhood streets. A federal award to Macomb County of $97.8 million will help rebuild Mound Road, one of the major thoroughfares crossing the city.
While many of these projects will be noticed by outsiders, Fouts said, "We haven’t forgotten the neighborhoods.”
He said 11,500 new LED lights have made streets brighter and safer at night and police initiatives have cut major crime in every category and helped take drugs off the street.
“I see the library-police station and mini-city hall envisioned for the Nine Mile area as being a real shot in the arm to our south end and will probably help develop it like another Ferndale,” Fouts said.
While Fouts did not detail costs or how the projects would be funded, he said Warren’s future appeared to be partly funded through recent investment by GM and Chrysler in the city.
The GM Global Tech Center is investing $28 million in the Warren battery lab, transferring 3,000 engineers to the Tech Center and creating 2,500 jobs. In addition, the carmaker's Cadillac division moved its headquarters from New York to Warren — "from the Big Apple to the big city,” Fouts said.
Additionally Fiat Chrysler is investing $1.75 billion in its Warren operations for 4,400 total jobs, Fouts said.
“They have also indicated they want their suppliers within 15 minutes from them, which could translate as even more Warren investment and jobs,” he said.
Fouts ended his address with a promise of “big announcements later this year."
“The best is yet to come,” he said.