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Hillsdale City offi­cials receive Rede­vel­opment Ready Cer­ti­fi­cation from MSHDA | Facebook

The empty lot at 23 and 25 N. Broad St., next to St. Anthony’s Catholic Church, is in the beginning stages of rede­vel­opment as the city searches for a developer to build on the spot.

This will be Hillsdale’s first project com­pleted in part­nership with the Michigan Eco­nomic Devel­opment Cor­po­ration since being cer­tified as a “Rede­vel­opment Ready Com­munity” by the Michigan Eco­nomic Devel­opment Cor­po­ration in August. The cer­ti­fi­cation allows more oppor­tu­nities to attract new busi­nesses to the com­munity.

One resource that comes with cer­ti­fi­cation is the assis­tance of the Rede­vel­opment Service Team, led by Rede­vel­opment Ser­vices Manager Nate Scramlin. 

“Once a com­munity is cer­tified, my team becomes engaged with the com­munity and works with them to identify some pri­or­ities sites that they would like to attract investment on,” Scramlin said. “The Broad Street parcel was one of the pri­ority prop­erties that they had iden­tified.”

Scramlin said he is working in con­junction with City Admin­is­trator Alan Beeker, who is also hard at work to get this project started. 

As of now, Beeker said the lot has been cleared of the former, dilap­i­dated building, but a new building will not be con­structed anytime soon. 

“We are probably a couple years out from seeing any actual con­struction,” Beeker said.

Scramlin said this project has the potential of trans­forming the look of downtown and presents an exciting oppor­tunity for the com­munity. 

Scramlin said the City of Hillsdale under­stands this project will have a big impact on the res­i­dents and has asked them to respond with ideas for the site on a Facebook article posted on Oct. 2. Com­ments listing ideas for the property ranged from a YMCA to a homeless shelter. 

Richard Murphy, project manager for the Michigan Municipal League, rec­og­nizes the impor­tance of the citizen’s input. 

“It helps to have the people who are on the ground in downtown give us the per­ceptive in addition to the high-level data points,” Murphy said.

The city lis­tened to people’s opinions by hosting an open-house at the Hillsdale Com­munity Library on Oct. 9. 

“We had about 15 people attend the meeting,” Murphy said. “There was def­i­nitely interest in first-floor use that is activity-gen­er­ating and brings foot-traffic downtown to help support the sur­rounding busi­nesses or brings employment downtown.”

More infor­mation should be available to the public on the project in the coming months. 

“There will be another meeting in a couple months where our team brings back a few dif­ferent con­cepts for feedback in order to con­verge towards a final, pre­ferred concept,” Murphy said.