Rochester highlights its pride in State of the City address

The 2014 Rochester State of the City address was an evening of familiar faces, mostly good news, laughs, and a lot of hometown pride.

TV personality Tom Daldin welcomes the crowd at the 2014 Rochester State of the City address.

TV personality Tom Daldin welcomes the crowd at the 2014 Rochester State of the City address.

Tom Daldin, host of Detroit Public Television’s popular “Under the Radar Michigan” program, welcomed the crowd gathered at the Royal Park Hotel. Not only is Tom a proud Rochester resident, but also his wife Cathy serves on the Rochester City Council. Tom said even though his work takes him all over the state, he always lets people know he loves coming home to Rochester, and as will continue to do so in his role as the new Pure Michigan spokesperson.

The Rochester Police Honor Guard presented the colors and Mayor Pro Tem Stuart A. Bikson led the Pledge of Allegiance. Reverend Jody Betten, interim pastor of First Congregational Church of Rochester delivered the invocation.

Congressman Mike Rogers was supposed to appear via video, but as Bikson joked, “Rogers has been a little busy lately.” So, Jeffrey S. Matis, Vice Chair, Oakland County Board of Commissioners, District 12, handled the live introduction of Rochester Mayor Jeffrey T. Cuthbertson.

Rochester Mayor Jeffrey Cuthbertson

Rochester Mayor Jeffrey Cuthbertson

Cuthbertson then took the stage and thanked past and present local leaders in attendance, city workers and officials, Rochester City Councilmembers, and his wife and young daughter for their support. After the introductions, Cuthbertson launched into the change Rochester is experiencing; “positive” change that will make the city stronger than ever.

The Road Ahead

This spring, Romeo and Bloomer Roads will both get much-needed attention, and a safety crossing is in the works on Dequindre Road where the Clinton River and Macomb Orchard Trails meet. And if warmer weather ever arrives (and sticks around) the band shell in Rochester Municipal Park should be open for the sweet sounds of the Kiwanis Club of Rochester’s Music in the Park series this summer.

Meet Me Downtown

It’s hard to mention Rochester without talking about its vibrant downtown area. In 2013, the National Trust for Historic Preservation chose Rochester as a Great American Main Street Awards® (GAMSA) winner. Part of what makes Rochester’s downtown so distinct is the popular Big Bright Light Show. Cuthbertson noted that in addition to the annual event being funded by the Rochester Downtown Development Authority (DDA) and other tax dollars, merchants will be asked to contribute so that all the stores eventually have the same “fit and finish” as Main Street. Cuthbertson says this will give the merchants a “greater and enhanced voice.”

Cuthbertson also talked about other downtown initiatives like Rochester Posed, Deck Art 2014, the River Place at Mill Town Apartments and parking. In addition to the newly installed parking meters, there are plans for Eastside and Westside parking platforms. As Rochester has almost no debt, the estimated $12 million dollar price tag is something Cuthbertson and City Council did not take lightly when considering undertaking these projects. Cuthbertson emphasized that these platforms will be designed to fit into the landscape of downtown and not tower over the other buildings. There will also be a contest to help name the platforms.

Guests were treated to a strolling dinner generously provided by 19 Rochester establishments.

Guests were treated to a strolling dinner generously provided by 19 Rochester establishments.

Where you live

In 2017, Rochester will celebrate its Golden Bicentennial and Cuthbertson took a few moments to acknowledge descendants of Rochester’s first settlers, the Graham family, in attendance. Part of the celebration will be a call for concepts for a monument to commemorate this occasion. Cuthbertson more details would be announced soon.

Cuthbertson closed the evening with a picture of Grand Central Station from a recent trip to New York City. As he watched the chaos from above, he saw a blind man with a leader dog, making his way easily through the crowd and thought, “Wow. We (Rochester) have such an impact.”

About Sarah Hovis

Freelance wordsmith, arts appreciator, grammar geek, sports spectator, stationery snob, and world traveler, Sarah charts her own course as the owner of saliho creative. She uses her creative mind and engaging dialogue to fearlessly bring the written word to life in print and online… all while keeping a watchful eye out for the next literary adventure. You can reach her at

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