LYON TOWNSHIP, MI (WXYZ) — Lyon Township is known as a quiet little community in Southern Oakland County, but the area is getting a lot less little—growing faster than nearly any community in the state.
With that comes the hope for a vibrant downtown district.
The idea has been in the works for years and will take center stage during a monthly meeting Tuesday night.
“Between 2010 and 2020 our population went from about 14,500 to just under 23,000,” Amy Allen, director of Lyon Township Downtown Development Authority said.
That’s a 60% boom and it has led to an explosion of the township’s industrial district, according to Allen.
She says over the past few years, new jobs and housing developments have been brought to the area,
This has helped businesses like Whole Hearted Winery, which opened in 2019.
“The past couple months we were up like 80 percent in bottle sales,” Dan Weiand with Whole Hearted Winery said. “And this is our slow season. When we get into September I’m kind of nervous to see what’s going to happen.”
In the Township the focus has now turned to developing a walkable downtown area where Grand River, Milford, and Pontiac Trail all meet.
“We want people to come here after hours to enjoy a drink on the patio, to enjoy wine tasting, to enjoy shopping at a home store," Allen said.
Right now, MDOT construction on i-96 is diverting a lot of freeway traffic to the area. It’s actually helping the winery get business they otherwise might not have, but the loud trucks aren’t ideal for people trying to enjoy a drink outside.
“One of the big factors for us too is we’ve undertaken a project of this ring road that diverts traffic all around this six points parcel right in the middle of our downtown,” Allen said.
Once complete, Allen sees potential for that main intersection to be closed to traffic for community events, festivals, and parades.
In the meantime, the township is taking on smaller projects like adding more sidewalks.
They are also working to incorporate a beloved and historic moniker, the New Hudson Inn, which opened in 1831.
It’s a landmark and next door to Whole Hearted Winery whose owner feels a real attachment to the name and says it's part of this community’s identity.
“That’s what I think the drawdown here is, that history," Weiand said. "And we teach people that history all the time.”
When it comes to the branding for the township’s downtown district, New Hudson will have a mark, Allen says.
“Our goal is to really incorporate it, find out how to build on that together," she said.