Skip to main content

Focus Macomb - July 2023

Mark Hackel

Message from Mark

Hello and welcome to the July edition of Focus Macomb.

I am pleased to begin this message with a positive update about Macomb County’s central intake and assessment center that we have been planning for the last several years. Last week, the Board of Commissioners overwhelmingly approved the project and budget.

The aging jail facility has needed to be addressed for the last 20 to 25 years and has always been a topic of conversation for this County. Now we're going to be able to fix it with a mindful approach towards mental health and substance abuse, which is absolutely critical.  Not only will we have the right size facility to manage that population, but we will also provide whatever support that's needed, whether through our internal resources at Community Corrections and Community Mental Health, or reaching out to our community partners to help us deal with these individuals. As I’ve said before, confinement is not a substitute for treatment. This project is a big step towards reaching that goal and I believe we are going to set the tone throughout not just the state of Michigan, but across the country. This will be the model.

Many people and organizations have worked tirelessly to put this effort in motion, especially Deputy County Executive Vicki Wolber, the Macomb County Sheriff’s Office, Macomb County Community Mental Health and Community Corrections. I’d like to thank those teams for their incredible leadership on this transformative initiative. I’d also like to thank our partners in Lansing who awarded us $40 million in state funding. They recognized the importance of this project and its impact on both public safety and mental health. I look forward to sharing our progress. But in the meantime, please learn more about our mindful approach to mental health here.

Outside of County news, there’s a lot going in our community right now. Be sure to check out Sterlingfest and Bass Brews and BBQ this weekend. And on the horizon, we’ve got the Armada Fair, Romeo Peach Festival and Richmond Good Old Days, which is incredibly exciting. And outside of planned events, we’ve got weeks of beautiful weather ahead of us. So it’s time to get outdoors and enjoy all the amenities that make Macomb a great place to call home. From our parks and trail systems, to our clean, clear and connected waterways, there’s something for everyone.

So let’s enjoy the rest of this summer. It will be fall before we know it.

Thank you and take care.

Macomb County touts Blue Economy projects and initiatives, releases new Lake St. Clair Coastal Study at State of the Lake Address

State of the Lake - Vicky Rowinski and Gerry Santoro

County Executive Mark A. Hackel was joined this Wednesday by community leaders for the annual State of the Lake Address held at MacRay Harbor in Harrison Township. Speakers included Public Works Deputy Commissioner Dan Acciavatti, Bethany Sly from the Michigan Boating Industries Association and Gerard Santoro from Macomb County Planning and Economic Development. Together the group touted the success of the Blue Economy initiative, an effort created to enhance and protect Lake St. Clair and its tributaries through economic development, environmental stewardship and quality of life enhancements to benefit residents and visitors.

“Lake St. Clair is an incredible asset for our community and our entire region,” said Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel. “And with our efforts around the Blue Economy initiative, we’re working to ensure that this resource and its surrounding areas remain a top priority when it comes to investment, enhancement and preservation for many years to come.”

Restoration projects, funding and infrastructure work on the waterway and its surrounding areas were also discussed.

"Everything we do in our department is focused on improving water quality,” said Macomb County Public Works Commissioner Candice Miller, via Deputy Acciavatti. “In fact, our mission statement is 'water quality equals quality of life'. Protecting our magnificent Lake St. Clair is a priority we all take seriously."

Gerard Santoro, program director for Parks and Natural Resources with Macomb County Planning and Economic Development, then presented the results of the first-ever Lake St. Clair Coastal Study. The report establishes a baseline of current water assets and quality of life amenities within a 12.1 square-mile Coastal Study Area along the lake’s shoreline. It will be used to market the region, address deficiencies and opportunities, and support funding requests that will strengthen the natural asset and its surrounding areas. 

State of the Lake - Mark Hackel

Notable findings from the study include: 

  • There is a total of 160.3 miles of Lake St. Clair coastline in Macomb County, both physical (51.4 miles) and augmented (108.9 miles) through manmade extensions (ie. shoreline protection structures, piers, docks, canals, etc.). The augmented coastline more than doubled the publicly accessible areas within the County, which currently sits at 10.8 miles of coastline. 
  • The Lake St. Clair Coastal Study Area is older, more educated and more affluent than surrounding areas. It has a higher proportion of Baby Boomers, a higher proportion of college degrees and a per capita income 27% higher than the rest of Macomb County.
  • Recreation in the Coastal Study Area is on the rise. For instance, there has been a 620% increase in charter boat trips since 2012 and in 2022, marinas saw 1.4 million visitors. 
  • Environmental sustainability remains a priority. More than $130 million has been spent on projects in the last 20 years to reduce pollution overflows and $43 million has been invested in habitat enhancements. 

The study also identified a wide range of ideas and opportunities for the region, including:

  • Implementing a multilateral Blue Economy strategy. 
  • Improving access by purchasing waterfront properties and developing structures that expand the shoreline.
  • Developing facilities that help residents age-in-place.
  • Promoting business, events and amenities that support year-round recreation and tourism.
  • Encouraging development of a lake-side resort or mixed-use hotel.
  • Continued expansion of walking, biking and water trails.

For more information on the Blue Economy and other initiatives of Macomb County Planning and Economic Development, visit

Input needed from Macomb County employers, parents and child care providers

Has child care impacted you as an employer, family or as a provider of these vital services? Read on, your input is needed!

Macomb County Planning and Economic Development (MCPED) has formed a coalition to examine the current child care ecosystem across Macomb County. Using available data and the results of audience specific surveys, the coalition will create a report on the current landscape as well as a set of recommendations that allow for access to quality programming. 

The study is funded through the Regional Child Care Planning project and is supported by funding provided from the Michigan Department of Education utilizing American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding, from the Office of Child Care, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Through the $150,000 grant awarded, MCPED has hired Data Driven Decisions to coordinate coalition activities, data collection, analysis and a final report. MCPED will also examine how current zoning ordinances impact child care in each of the 27 municipalities within the county.  

“For years, economists have reported a strong link between child care and state and local economic growth and development,” said Dawne Bell, CEO of the Early Childhood Investment Corporation. “The Regional Child Care Planning Grant will help bring together economic developers, employers, municipalities, parents and early childhood teachers to understand child care facilities and workforce needs and develop a plan to accelerate child care solutions.”

MCPED is looking for additional coalition members from the county’s pool of parents, businesses and child care employers/employees. If you or your business has been affected by the current child care landscape, we want to hear from you. Let your voice be heard by joining our coalition and giving your perspective to this ongoing issue. You can do this by contacting Jordan Blough-Orr at 269-330-5067 or at

If you are unable to attend our coalition meetings, we still want to hear from you. Macomb County employers, parents and child care providers please take a few minutes to complete a survey and provide your input regarding the child care landscape and the effects it has had on you.


Survey for employers

Survey for parents

Survey for child care providers

Macomb Next 8-17-23

Fourth in a series of workshops will discuss 3-D Printing, Advanced Robotics and Automation

In partnership with Velocity, Macomb County Planning and Economic Development is holding its fourth Macomb Next workshop on Aug. 17 from 8-10 a.m. in Sterling Heights.

Macomb Next is an initiative funded through the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) with an explicit interest in Industry 4.0 (I4.0) technologies and programs that will assist Macomb County manufacturers in their expansion and growth.

I4.0 is the ongoing automation of traditional manufacturing and industrial practices, using modern smart technology. Within it are 9 pillars that help businesses manage and optimize all aspects of their manufacturing processes and supply chain. It gives access to real-time data and insights needed to make smarter, faster decisions that can ultimately boost the efficiency and profitability of an entire operation.

The Macomb Next workshops highlight each individual pillar with a keynote speaker and a panel of industry experts who have successfully adopted the technology. The first in the series was held Feb. 16 at Velocity. Approximately 80 business owners and students from both high school and college attended the event to discuss cloud computing and the Internet of Things. Since then, there have been two more events with positive results. This August, similar outcomes are expected.

“This is our fourth Industry 4.0 workshop out of a total of five this year, which are all interconnected,” said Jack Johns, the economic development program director for MCPED. “The series has grown in popularity as businesses realize the importance of I4.0 technology. The last two workshops were at full capacity. MCPED wants to make sure that Macomb County businesses remain up to speed with the latest technology to ensure that they will not be left behind.”

The pillars of interest for the Aug. 17 workshop are additive manufacturing (3-D printing), advanced robotics and automation. When utilized correctly, they can minimize human error and create a better response to the increasing demand for customized products and single-product variations. Tedious and manual tasks are completed faster and with increased productivity. This provides a thorough solution that encompasses all processes, making it possible for information to flow through the entire system.

There to discuss these advantages will be keynote speaker Tom Kelly, executive director and CEO of Automation Alley, a Michigan-based nonprofit Industry 4.0 knowledge center with a global outlook and a regional focus. 

If saving costs, improving processes, minimizing downtime on the floor and increasing employee safety are important to a business, they should consider attending the Aug. 17 event to learn how these pillars of Industry 4.0 can be applied in a facility. 

There is no cost to attend but seating is limited. Visit to register and learn more.

Senior Fun Fest

Vendor and sponsorship opportunities available for this year’s Senior Fun Festival

The Macomb County Office of Senior Services is holding its 32nd annual Senior Fun Festival on Sept. 29 at the Lorenzo Cultural Center. From 9 a.m. to noon, attendees can enjoy free entertainment, connect with friends and make use of resources provided by event organizers and vendors. 

The festival is cited as being one of the largest of its kind in the area and has reached attendance levels as high as 1,000 in the past. But with such a large event, comes the need for sponsorship and vendors. 

“The festival offers a wide range of resources and giveaways for our attendees, but we really rely on sponsors and vendors to make that possible,” said Sheila Cote, director, Macomb County Office of Senior Services. “If you’re an organization looking to reach this audience, I can’t think of a better opportunity.”

This is the perfect opportunity for organizations to get in front of the County’s senior community and makes for a fulfilling festival for everyone involved. 

The available options for sponsorships include: Presenting (5,000), Featured ($1,500), Event ($750) or an altered package that can meet branding needs. Sponsors must be confirmed by July 30 to ensure logo placement on marketing materials.

Vendors interested in attending can purchase a table for $250. Non-profit organizations can do so for $100. A table with tablecloth and two chairs will be provided with each table. Only a limited number of tables will have access to electric outlets and registration for this opportunity closes August 15.

To speak to someone about becoming a sponsor or to register for a table, please contact Wendie Previdi at (586) 342-8968 or Applications to become a sponsor or registered vendor, along with additional information about the event, can be found at

Note: This event is to provide information and resources to Macomb County seniors and caregiversNo political campaigning or promoting ballot initiatives.


MSU Extension offers 4-H programs for young people

Macomb County MSU Extension is offering opportunities for youth through 4-H with 'A Day in the Garden'.

A Day in the Garden is a weekly, daylong program open to children ages 5-12. Here they can study basic gardening practices, learn about plant parts, plant needs and how to care for plants. Participants will also learn about the bigger picture of sustainability in food access, food safety and food preservation. Weather permitting, each day will begin with garden yoga and mindfulness techniques, followed by hands-on garden chores and lessons. After lunch, children will participate in planned activities, garden crafts and more.

A Day in the Garden costs $10 per session and includes lunch and a snack. While the program has already begun its first few sessions, children can continue to meet Tuesdays through to August 22 from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. at the Max Thompson Family Resource Center, 11370 Hupp Avenue, Warren, Michigan. For more information and to register, visit

This opportunity is made possible through 4-H, the largest and oldest, free youth development organization in the nation.

Mound Road construction work zone.

Road, bridge and traffic projects slated to start in Macomb County

The Macomb County Department of Roads (MCDR) is preparing for road, bridge and traffic improvements scheduled for 2023 and conducting preliminary planning for future road work by sending projects for funding consideration to the Macomb County Board of Commissioners, which were formally approved at the full board meeting on Thursday, July 20.

“As part of our continuing effort to improve Macomb County’s road, bridge and transportation network, there is significant work taking place this construction season,” said Macomb County Executive Mark A. Hackel. “Between work scheduled for this year and planning and exploring funding for future road improvement projects, I will continue to emphasize there isn’t a road or bridge we can’t fix if we have adequate funding and support from our local, state and federal lawmakers.”

There is more than $163 million in road, bridge, and traffic improvements planned throughout Macomb County this year. MCDR is also exploring the reconstruction of Metropolitan Parkway between Mound Road and Van Dyke Avenue by conducting preliminary planning and engineering work necessary to apply for federal grant funding.

“These projects are part of the Department of Roads strategic approach to provide comprehensive transportation infrastructure improvements throughout Macomb County,” said MCDR Director Bryan Santo. “From local roads to major corridors, we are committed to improving our road and bridge system while delivering the greatest value to residents, drivers and the community.”

For a complete list of 2023 Macomb County construction projects, maps, and information, visit Motorists can stay up to date of what's happening on the roadways by signing up for Department of Roads lane closures and construction updates.


Save the Date

Bass, Brews and BBQ 1x1


Bass Brews & BBQ Festival

In conjunction with Bassmaster Elite Series

Friday-Sunday, July 28-30

Brandenburg Park, Chesterfield Township




Sprint and Splash 2023

Sprint and Splash

Saturday, August 12, 2023

Lake St. Clair Metropark



Macomb Next 8-17-23

Industry 4.0 Workshop: 3D Printing, Advanced Robotics and Automation

Thursday, August 17, 2023; 8 a.m.

Velocity Center 

6633 18 Mile Road Sterling Heights, MI 48314


Department:Planning and Economic Development