Rochester Hills recognized for growing green

For the second year in a row, the city of Rochester Hills is being recognized as a leader in Oakland County for impressive residential and business growth. In 2012, the city saw an 11-percent increase in residential investment over 2011.

“Last year we welcomed over 100 new families, all of whom have made a significant investment in Rochester Hills,” Mayor Bryan Barnett said at the recent Community Outlook Luncheon hosted by the Rochester Regional Chamber of Commerce.

More businesses are laying their roots in Rochester Hills too.  With a vacancy rate hovering at 7 percent, it’s the lowest it has been in a decade. According to a recent report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate in Rochester Hills has been steady at 5 percent, which is the lowest in Oakland County and second lowest in the State of Michigan.

It isn’t only about getting companies to locate to Rochester Hills. Recently recognized by the University of Michigan-Dearborn iLabs as an eCities Five-Star Community for entrepreneurs, Rochester Hills’ economic gardening strategy focuses on growing and nurturing local businesses.

“We have taken an entrepreneurial approach to economic development that builds the local economy from within by providing the tools to grow here and stay here,” Barnett said. One example is the recent expansion of Rochester Hills-based TTi Global, which just moved to a 25,000-square-foot facility and expects to bring in about $150 million in revenue this year, along with 125 new jobs.

Residential and business development isn’t the only thing growing in Rochester Hills these days. Mayor Barnett also announced plans to implement the city’s first-ever Community Garden at Wabash Park. Through a partnership with Dinosaur Hill, the first phase will provide over 100 garden plots for residents, Scout troops and other groups to rent to grow fresh fruits, vegetables and plants for personal use or to donate to the local food pantry.

“The garden will offer another quality-of-life amenity for our residents to get out and enjoy,” Barnett said. Rochester Hills continues to be recognized on a national level for creating and sustaining green infrastructure and was awarded the Climate Protection Award at the U.S. Conference of Mayors in 2012.

“Our collective efforts have earned us this recognition. From protecting and preserving over 100 acres of green space, to our restoration efforts along the Clinton River or the successful curbside recycling and Green Schools Grant program through Recyclebank, we remain a leader in creating a more green and sustainable community,” Barnett said.

Residents are encouraged to participate in the city’s green initiatives through renting a plot or getting involved in the new Community Garden, by signing up for curbside recycling or, for current recyclers, by donating accumulated Recyclebank points to one of the Green School Grant participants, University Hills and Long Meadow Elementary.

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