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Focus Macomb - December 2023

Message from Mark

Mark Hackel

Hello and happy holidays! Welcome to the final edition of Focus Macomb for 2023. I can’t believe it’s already the end of the year, but what a year this has been. In fact, last week I delivered my annual State of the County address and I discussed some of the great things we’ve achieved together, and some of the exciting projects on the horizon. If you missed the event or the livestream, you can watch the replay here, or read about what was discussed in the story below. There are incredible things happening in our community, and that’s why Macomb is a great place to call home.

I’m going to keep this message brief, but before I sign off, I’d like to remind you that and our Make Macomb Your Home Facebook and Events pages are the best places to find festive fun and other regular updates for the coming winter months. Whether this means bundling up and getting out of the house to visit a local ice rink or sledding hill, or finding a new brewery to try with friends, our team works hard to gather the information you need to enjoy winter in Macomb County. Please feel free to share with your family and friends.

Take care, stay safe and have a wonderful holiday season,



Executive Mark Hackel delivers 11th annual State of the County address

Crowd at State of the County

Macomb County Executive Mark A. Hackel delivered his 11th State of the County address at the Macomb Center for the Performing Arts on December 6, 2023. The event, which was presented by Stellantis, covered a wide-range of topics, starting with several key community metrics:

  • Population - The County’s foreign-born population is close to 100,000, which shows that now more than ever, people from around the world are choosing to make Macomb their home. 
  • Housing - To meet increasing demand, 2,400 new homes have been built over the last two years, and values continue to rise, outpacing state averages. 
  • Jobs - Employment numbers are strong, with more than 460,000 residents in the workforce and an unemployment rate of 3.9%. 
  • Education - Residents are increasingly pursuing education. More than 60% of Macomb County’s population has some form of post-secondary education, degree or certification. 
  • Income - Average earnings are up 15% over the past five years, with increases across all industry segments. 
  • Fiscal stability - For 13 consecutive years, the County has built a structurally balanced budget, creating a healthy fund balance and resulting in a AA+ bond rating. 

“These and many other reasons are why people make Macomb their home,” Hackel said.

Mark at State of the County

The County Executive then touched on Macomb’s mindful approach to County government. “Government works best when it is aware of - and directly responds to - what is on the minds of the people,” he said. “That is exactly what we have been doing in Macomb County, and I believe that has been the foundation for our success.”

Hackel proceeded to cover five issues that have been top-of–mind for the community, including public safety, neighborhood stability, the economy and talent attraction, infrastructure, and overall quality of life. He also discussed ways the County is addressing those concerns and making an impact.

“We are developing transformational projects which will positively impact criminal justice, mental health and substance use challenges for years to come,” he said while addressing public safety. Two examples of this work in action include the new $230 million Central Intake and Assessment Center at the County jail, which was announced this summer, and the $10 million Sheriff Marine Division headquarters along Lake St. Clair, which opened this week. 

In describing neighborhood stability, Hackel shared: “Together, Macomb Community Action, the Health Department, and our Office of Senior Services are working to steady home values, develop vibrant communities, support economic empowerment, promote wellness and help residents age in place.” Several metrics and programs demonstrate this work, including:

  • The Macomb County Head Start program expanding to full day service for children and families
  • The formation of the Macomb County Child Care Coalition
  • The distribution of 2.7 million pounds of food through a network of more than 60 pantries 
  • The formation of the new Macomb Regional Housing Partnership to help those facing housing challenges. The partnership aims to provide more safe, healthy, affordable, accessible and attainable housing for everyone

Other notable announcements came during Hackel’s comments on the economy. “Last year Macomb County boasted a $46 billion economy, and today, it’s forecasted to be $48 billion,” he said. “This is a testament to the more than 19,000 businesses that serve our community.” 

Taste of Macomb followed after State of the County.

In terms of infrastructure, Hackel shared a positive update regarding Mound Road. “I’m proud to say that this project that began in August of 2021 is on budget and on time, and will be open just before Christmas,” he said. 

To close the address, Hackel spoke about the County’s commitment to improving overall quality of life. This includes the care and well being of animals housed at the Macomb County Animal Control shelter, which will see a major update in the future. “We are fortunate to have already had the Board of Commissioners approve the funding for us to begin preliminary work on a new shelter, to replace the outdated facility,” he said. “We are committed to building a modern facility that will meet the needs of our community and more importantly help us better care for our animals.”

The entire State of the County address can be found on the Make Macomb Your Home YouTube channel. It can also be accessed at

Macomb County partners with Collins Elementary School and Utica Community Schools to paint the plow

Paint the Plow

Salt is stocked, equipment is ready, road professionals are on standby, and the Macomb County Department of Roads (MCDR) recently unveiled a freshly painted snowplow that will hit the roads this winter.

This year, MCDR partnered with Collins Elementary School and Utica Community Schools to paint one of the department’s snowplows ahead of the winter season. Sixth grade art students from Collins Elementary School submitted designs to paint the plow in the fall. 24 students submitted artwork and the winning design was voted on by Macomb County and MCDR staff.

“The team at the Department of Roads works tirelessly to keep the roads as safe as possible during winter weather operations and we value the high level of public service the Department of Roads provides,” said Macomb County Executive Mark A. Hackel. “Thanks to the work of students at Collins Elementary School, one of our snowplows will be hitting the roads in style. We appreciate all of the students and staff for decorating our snowplow with artwork for the entire community to enjoy.”

The winning design was unveiled today by Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel, MCDR director Bryan Santo, Utica Community Schools superintendent Robert Monroe, art teacher Jennifer Lehrer, and sixth grade students from Collins Elementary School.

“Our team is impressed by the creativity and talent of the students at Collins Elementary School and our road crews look forward to putting the plow to work,” said MCDR Director Bryan Santo. “The paint the plow program serves as a friendly reminder to the motoring public to stay safe and steer clear of the plows during winter weather operations.”

MCDR has more than 100 snowplows, salt trucks and graders in its fleet and more than 100 maintenance employees that are dedicated to keeping the roads clear of ice and snow.

This is the second plow to be painted as part of MCDR’s paint the plow program. Previously, MCDR partnered with Switzer Elementary School to paint one of the department’s snowplows, which is still in service today. Macomb County residents can look for the decorated plows this winter, which serve as a valuable reminder of the work MCDR professionals do to maintain a safe and drivable road system for all road users.

“We appreciate this partnership with the Macomb County Department of Roads. Our elementary art teachers create a strong foundation that inspires students. This project enhances this goal in a way that engages students in a creative and fun way to instill that life-long love of art. I also want to congratulate Mrs. Lehrer, Peyton, and the Collins sixth graders for their work,” said Utica Community Schools superintendent Robert Monroe. “Snowplows are usually frowned upon by our students on days when there is potential for school to be called off due to inclement weather. It’s nice that our students have given this snowplow some love by putting it out there in a positive way with something that will put a smile on the face of commuters.”

Schools and teachers that are interested in participating in MCDR’s annual paint the plow program can contact the Department of Roads at 586-463-8671 or for additional information.

Macomb County officially opens newly constructed Sheriff Marine Division headquarters along Lake St. Clair

group of county officials open the marine sheriff headquarters

Officials with Macomb County recently opened the new Sheriff Marine Division Headquarters along Lake St. Clair in Harrison Township. The facility replaces the original structure, which was constructed in 1974 and last updated in 1985.

“After many years of envisioning this project, and more than a year of construction, I am pleased to officially open the new Macomb County Sheriff Marine Division Headquarters here along Lake. St. Clair,” said Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel. “This team plays a vital role in keeping our community safe, and their facilities need to reflect that responsibility. So today I’m proud to stand in this building that is now equipped with the right tools and technology to ensure the Sheriff’s Office can do its job, which is to protect and serve the citizens of our region.”

Ground was broken on the headquarters in late summer 2022. The new 14,000-square-foot facility, which cost $10.4 million to construct, features administrative offices, dispatch, locker rooms, a boat garage with five adjustable boat wells, a maintenance garage with dive team facilities, a new emergency generator and a lightning protection system. In comparison, the former headquarters offered 5,300-square-feet of space.

“With over 30 miles of frontage on Lake St. Clair, and numerous smaller lakes and waterways, Macomb County has countless recreational opportunities for residents and visitors. Along with the fun and enjoyment, however, comes a profound responsibility to safeguard those on the water, while also helping secure our borders, and provide free boater-safety instruction,” said Sheriff Anthony Wickersham. “This new boathouse provides the men and women of the Sheriff’s Office, who have dedicated their professional lives to public service, an updated facility, and cutting-edge tools and technology, to better protect our community.”  

The Macomb County Sheriff Marine Division was created in 1956 to respond to a growing population in the area and an increasing use of local waterways. Its mission is to maintain water safety on Lake St. Clair through a proactive water patrol presence, boater education and patrol-related water enforcement. Its staff includes eight full-time individuals and four additional deputies during the summer. These personnel are trained and equipped for open water rescue, maritime law enforcement, vessel fire suppression and homeland security efforts.

In addition to this team, the Sheriff  Marine Division has a 76-member volunteer force of Marine Safety Officers which provide additional resources for water patrol-related activities and public education-related events. This support allows the Marine Division to log more patrol hours than any other agency on Lake St. Clair, making it one of the most active law enforcement marine divisions in the state.

“Bringing this headquarters project to life required a lot of collaboration across County government,” said Hackel. “I’d like to thank everyone involved, especially our Board of Commissioners and Chairman Don Brown. They saw the need for this facility and helped by approving the necessary funding."

“It is comforting as a taxpayer, and someone who is often on Lake St. Clair, that our modernized headquarters will be better equipped to serve those who use our Great Lakes and that it was built and paid for by cash, thanks to the excellent financial condition of Macomb County,” said Don Brown, chairman, Macomb County Board of Commissioners.

Department:Planning and Economic Development