Week of 3.27.17

Welcome to the home of Social Lights. New online reports with photos appear each week on the website and in the monthly print editions for the Birmingham-Bloomfield area and the Rochester-Rochester Hills area at the start of each month. If you want e-mail notification of when new Social Lights columns are posted to this site each Monday, sign up in the Newsletter Sign Up box at the lower right side of this home page.

Erin Go Bra(gh)

Kathy Broock Ballard’s annual St. Patrick’s Day charity event is a play on words – the Gaelic for “Ireland forever.” But her girlfriends, 70 came this year, know that the new underwear they bring will be cherished by the women-in-need clients of Grace Centers of Hope and CARE House of Oakland County. The happy hour party at the Village Club is emerald accented (see photo gallery) and noted for Ballard’s generous hospitality. The venue is special to the hostess because ”...my grandmother was one of the founders of this club.” The news maker at the party was Cheryl Hall-Lindsay. She arrived with a foot cast to go with her arm cast. Both injuries were sustained during her fitness run through the neighborhood, but the foot cast was brand new. “This morning I was hit by a car...and the driver ran over my foot,” she explained. Keeping fit can be dangerous.
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This weeks social light photos…

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oakland confidential

April 2017

BIGOTRY 101: Who could have imagined that in 2017 anti-semitism would once again be rearing its ugly head. Sadly, some local Republicans confirm the toxic malady hit the state’s Republican convention in February, when party administrative vice-chair David Wolkinson of Birmingham ran for re-election to the party position. "There were a bunch of people who also wanted to be vice-chair who ...more»
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Birmingham envisions major city project


By Lisa Brody
News Editor
03/17/2017 - After grappling for several years with a shortage of parking, and recognizing an opportunity to redevelop the site at Bates and where the N. Old Woodward parking structure is located, the Birmingham city commission on Monday, March 13, unanimously approved having city staff develop and send out a request for qualifications (RFQ) to solicit developers, engineers, architects and other interested firms in pursuing its redevelopment to include residential, commercial and retail while incorporating hundreds more parking spaces.

Birmingham Planning Director Jana Ecker noted that for the last several years city staff and the commission had been addressing parking and the shortage that has developed in the city as office space and its usage has changed. A couple of years ago the city looked at adding two floors to the Pierce Street parking structure, as it is the only parking garage with that capability, but parking demands in the city have changed, she noted, "and now the recommendations are that we move forward with the N. Old Woodward deck first." The existing parking lot would be demolished. She added that the city's master plan advises for the redevelopment of Bates Street, with a Bates Street connector going through the area behind the N. Old Woodward flat lot.

Rather than having potential developers come up with plans and their own concepts, the city hired noted Birmingham architect Victor Saroki to create conceptual options on how a public/private development could look that the city would prefer. Ecker said that RFQ "would allow for a two-step process, where we would send this out, and they would show how they qualify, what experience they have, their financial ability, how they could work with the government. Then we would pick a few to work with, and invite those to submit a RFP (request for proposal), and we could be very specific about what we want – the activation of the space and the streets. We recognize the economy goes in cycles, and we think this may be the best time to move forward, rather than wait another five years."

Saroki explained that he had come up with two main versions, each with an alternate plan. "It became pretty apparent that this location was the most optimum. It could yield a maximum amount of parking, it created a new street, and it provided the opportunity for new development opportunities, alongside the Willits Building, which is five stories; the Google Building at four stories, and Brookside Terrace, being built, at five stories."

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