Fenton's four development projects prompt disagreements

The City of Fenton is transforming. Four projects are in the works to change the look and feel of the community.

However, whenever there's change, there's going to be differing opinions. One side says it's plan will help stimulate growth and investment.

The other side says it'll kill it.

"Bold steps," that's what Fenton City leadership says it will take to keep Fenton in the fight for residents.

"Communities are competing with each other. I don't care what anyone says. They are. In order to be competitive for the future, we have to adapt to the environment," says Fenton Assistant City Manager Michael Burns.

Burns says Fenton is no longer a bedroom community but rather a regional center that needs to offer more options for those living and visiting there.

The city's Downtown Development Authority expects to begin a new streetscape project in 2013 to narrow traffic lanes to slow down vehicles.

"I think they're going about it the wrong way," says Susan Olson, owner of Yesterday's Treasure antique store in Fenton.

Olson says she spent $20,000 for new concrete work in front of her business that she's worried will be removed with the new project.

She also fears it would take out parking in front of her store. "(City leaders) are not in retail to know exactly what you need," says Olson.

In addition to the streetscape project, the Michigan Brewing Company is expected to install a brew pub at the old fire hall.

Plans are to renovate and expand the city's community center.

There's also what's called the Cornerstone project. It's new four-story building on the south east corner of Leroy Street and Silver Lake Road with retail and restaurant space in the first floor and living space on the floors above.