January 11, 2019
Our friends at MetroMode write beautiful stories about places and people across Southeast Michigan. We thought this one on Small Town America might be an interesting one to share on the Let’s Detroit platform. A lot of what we do is promote more city-oriented content and things to do. But if big city livin’ ain’t your thing, we’re building a database to showcase the amazing, liveable and walkable small towns we have across the region.
Here’s Barb Templeton’s January 10, 2019 article featuring Armada, Richmond and Memphis:
In northern Macomb County, tree-lined, two-lane roads soon give way to a landscape of tight-knit communities reminiscent of the 1950s, striving to hold onto tradition while changing with the times.
Metromode took a step outside of our usual coverage area to find out more about how northern Macomb County communities. Here’s a look at three places where small-town America is alive and well in Metro Detroit.
Township and Village of Armada
When you jump on North Avenue heading north towards 33 Mile Road, you’ll drive right into Armada Township. It’s an agricultural community that’s maintained its rural charm with small farms and residential areas dotting the landscape.
“I see it as a place that’s comfortable, a bit quieter and offers a softer lifestyle,” Armada
Township Supervisor John Paterek says. “Or put it this way, if you don’t see a deer in your yard, you’ll see one in front of your car.”
The township, formed in 1832, covers 36 square miles. Nestled within is the one-square-mile Armada Village. The population of Armada Township is about 5,500 people.
Paterek says the township’s greatest assets today are its schools, churches and the nonprofits in the community that combine to make Armada a family strong community.
“The strengths here are really in the community itself. We have parents that are truly involved in the schools and all our events; we don’t have to worry about finding a coach because we always have more than we need,” Paterek says.
Beyond the family component, Paterek says things are going well in many other areas of the municipality, with thanks due in part to Clerk Mary Swiacki and Treasurer Camille Finlay who oversee the day-to-day operation of the township.
Economic development in the industrial corridor between 32- and 33-mile roads is underway with a major project taking shape off Pound Road. Utilities should be installed in the northern end by late spring, and so far, a robotics company and a mini-storage business are lined up to fill space there, Paterek says.
Although the township’s population is aging, he says folks still move there with young families and the real estate market is very stable.
“Many people are attracted to the chance to build their own homes on property that’s close to downtown and the schools,” Paterek says.
Clare Reagin, recently moved to Armada to live closer to her son who purchased property and built a home there.
“I love being close to my grandson’s house of course and I feel safe there day and night,” Reagin says. “It’s a convenient walk to the post office, gas station for coffee, or the restaurants downtown.”
For the retirement crowd, a new complex that will include 56 condominiums in a senior community, not assisted living, is also planned near the Powell road industrial corridor.
Other big developments in the township of late include a $300,000 BMX Skate Park installed after area youth raised $100,000 and township funding and grants picked up the rest. Right now, the group, Friends of Armada, is working to raise half of the $200,000 price tag to put in a new playscape.
The new development will bring more job opportunities to the community, but for the most part, Armada remains a bedroom community.
“We’re a bedroom community, and most people drive out for work and drive back,” Paterek says. “Except me, I feel I have the American dream because I have two businesses, my kids’ school and my home all within three miles right here in Armada.”
Keep reading about Richmond and Memphis on Metromode’s site.