Looking Back and Moving Forward in Rochester Hills

I will never take for granted how blessed I am to be the Mayor of Rochester Hills. It has always been home and I never want to lose sight of all our team has accomplished over the years.

Sure, it’s important to look forward, to plan for the future. But it’s equally important to recognize the work we have done and reflect. There’s the saying, “success breeds success,” and I believe it because I have seen it. Year after year the Rochester Hills team seems to raise the bar.

Headshot of Mayor Barnett wearing a shirt and sport coat, no tie, smiling with the Rochester Hills logo lapel.
Rochester Hills Mayor Bryan Barnett – Photo by Michael Dwyer

I want to take some time to look back on yet another banner year for our community. It’s one thing to tout our community as the best because I tend to be a tad biased, but it’s quite another when outside publications recognize what we have created. The city was ranked No. 25 on Livability’s Best Places to Live in the U.S.  list in 2022, and No. 1 on the Safewise Safest Cities in Michigan list for cities over 70,000 residents for the sixth consecutive year. Honestly, there’s no better compliment than reading that our city “is the perfect Midwest city.”

One of the major reasons why our city ranks so high is our outstanding parks system. Innovation Hills continues to draw visitors from all over the state, and in 2023 will see an expansion of the playground and the addition of a rope bridge over the Clinton River. All told, Rochester Hills parks drew more than 1.2 million guests in 2022, and yes, that is more than the Detroit Tigers drew all of last season.

Parks and natural resources are points of pride in our community, from planting over 2,000 trees in the past three years and being a Tree City USA for 32 years running to celebrating a pair of historic milestones. Veterans Memorial Pointe turned 25 years old in 2022, while Bloomer Park hit the century mark. Both places have such unique stories, with the former created by City employees who wanted to have a place in the community to recognize our veterans, and the latter a once 200-acre state park that is one of the area’s true hidden gems.

Not all accomplishments are flashy, but that doesn’t take away from their importance. The City continues to invest in its infrastructure, spending millions of dollars each year on roads, sewer. watermain, and non-motorized pathways. Some of the big projects in 2022 were Old Perch, Auburn Road, and the first phase of the Avon and Dequindre roundabout. On local roads alone, nearly $5 million was spent in 2022 to make much needed concrete and asphalt repairs.

And how could I forget the “Gustnado” that whipped down Winry Drive in late August and brought trees crashing down on homes and vehicles. We were blessed that no one was injured, and quite frankly I will never forget the scene that night and the next day because it embodied so much of what our community is about. Neighbors were outside checking on each other, teaming up to clean up debris, and telling stories of their experience. When we say Rochester Hills is the preeminent place to live, work, and raise a family it was on full display on Winry Drive.

So as 2022 comes to a close and we start to look forward, I hope we continue to focus on what makes our community great – people who give of themselves to positively impact the lives of others. I am so thankful for each and every resident and business that calls our community home and cannot wait to see what we accomplish together in 2023 and beyond.

Speak Your Mind