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Planning and Economic Development

Focus Macomb


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Message from Mark


I am pleased to provide your monthly update on the people, programs and places that make Macomb County a great place to be. Please continue reading for:

  • The outstanding efforts of our mighty Department of Roads, who keep our roadways safe and clear and who were recently recognized with the Channel 7 “Jimmy Award on February 18. As challenging as it is keeping up with road construction, maintenance, plowing and patching, they are doing their best on behalf of all who travel our roadways and I’d like to commend them for their actions. Thank you Bryan and the entire team at the department.

  • Our annual Green Macomb plant and tree sale, which offers a variety of low-cost products that can spruce up any yard.

  • Information on the just announced relief program for homeowners facing COVID-19 financial hardship.

If you are like me, you are looking forward to longer days and warmer weather, but there is still plenty of time to enjoy our winter wonderland. See one of our latest Make Macomb Your Home blogs to learn about mountain biking and how it is growing in popularity with local residents.

As always, thanks for allowing me to serve as your county executive. Stay well. 





Green Macomb tree and plant sale returns


Green Macomb and the Blue Water Conservation District have announced the return of their annual tree and plant sale, an opportunity for the public to purchase young trees, fruit trees, flowering shrubs, wildflower seed and other fruits and vegetables at reasonable prices. The sale is now open and will run through Wednesday, April 6. Interested individuals can visit to browse available stock, place their orders and make payments.

“We created this tree and plant sale six years ago to help us reach our goal of increasing tree canopy in Macomb County,” said Gerard Santoro, program director for Macomb County Parks and Natural Resources. “The response from residents has been tremendous. So we are proud to once again offer this to our community, providing an affordable opportunity for homeowners to spruce up their gardens and green spaces for spring and summer.”

Items available for order include paper birch, black cherry, norway spruce, red osier dogwood, douglas fir and many more choices. Prices range from $7 to $25 while supplies last.

“As always, we will have an incredible offering with a range of products,” Santoro said. “But ultimately, we just want our customers to know that they are investing in a resource with real benefits – like increasing property values and reducing home energy usage.”

All items purchased can be picked up in person or shipped to your home. There will be two pick-up locations in Macomb County:

  • April 26 and 27 - Armada Fairgrounds
  • April 29 and 30 - Sterling Heights Dodge Park Farmers Market Pavilion

 A limited stock of trees and plants will be available for purchase on site.

Since the sale began six years ago, more than 100,000 trees and plants have been purchased by residents, businesses and communities throughout Macomb County. For more information on the tree and plant sale, visit the Green Macomb website.



Goldenberry Adult Dementia Day Center becomes first program in the country with special accreditation


The Macomb County Office of Senior Services, in partnership with the Martha T. Berry Medical Care Facility, recently announced the receipt of a Montessori Inspired Lifestyle® (MIL) accreditation for its Goldenberry facility. The certification makes it the first adult dementia day center in the United States to be recognized by the MIL program.

“Macomb County is committed to providing innovative programs and services that ensure a high quality of life for all of our residents,” said County Executive Mark Hackel. “And this first-of-its-kind accreditation for our Goldenberry facility shows that commitment in action. I am incredibly proud of our team at senior services for finding this unique opportunity, putting in the work and receiving their credential. It’s a testament to how much they care for the people they serve.”    

Montessori Inspired Lifestyle® (MIL) is a person-centered approach to living that involves understanding a person’s capabilities and interests and developing activities and plans of care that match the individual with their environment. This approach leads to greater independence and maintenance of remaining abilities among people with cognitive and physical disabilities. It also is a general approach to living that emphasizes the key values of respect, dignity and equality.  MIL training is rooted in rehabilitative techniques and educational approaches originated by Dr. Maria Montessori. It has been developed through decades of gerontological and neuro-psychological research by Dr. Cameron Camp and his team. 

“We are so excited and honored to have achieved this goal,” said Sheila Coté, director, Macomb County Office of Senior Services. “Staff were trained and exceeded requirements to attain certification.”

“Notably, since implementing the Montessori Inspired Lifestyle 12 principles, we have observed increased participation and fulfillment in the participants who attend Goldenberry,” said Jane Yanez, supervisor, Goldenberry.

Goldenberry is a state-of-the-art day program in Macomb County for individuals with Alzheimer’s or dementia-related conditions. The facility offers respite care for caregivers who are in need of assistance caring for their loved ones. The program includes meals/snacks, activities, exercise, transportation, health monitoring, medication management, personal care, socialization, caregiver support and much more. Staffing includes certified nursing assistants, registered nurse accessibility and a social worker with a 1:3 ratio of 1 staff to 3 participants. Staff provide continuous supervision and practice mandated safety protocols.

Funding assistance for Goldenberry is available through the Veterans Administration and the Area Agency on Aging 1-B. The program also offers a private pay rate, which is less than the cost of home health care.

Individuals with a loved one struggling with issues related to dementia or Alzheimer’s can visit for more resources. Additional information is also available by calling 586-469-5580.


Up to $25,000 in assistance available for Macomb homeowners with delinquent taxes, other emergency housing expenses


Macomb County is now helping individuals wishing to apply for assistance from the Michigan Homeowner Assistance Fund (MIHAF), a program created through the American Rescue Plan of 2021. The fund, which is aimed at reducing financial hardship associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, will help qualified individuals with mortgage delinquencies, defaults, foreclosures, utility shut offs and displacements. Up to $25,000 is available per approved applicant.

“We want to make eligible homeowners aware of this new state assistance fund,” said County Executive Mark A. Hackel. “These resources can help families keep their homes, strengthen our neighborhoods and inject much needed resources into our network of housing assistance programs.  We want people to make Macomb their home, and with programs like this our residents know that we are standing by ready to assist." 

The Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) is the operating agency for the $242.8 million MIHAF program, but locally, Macomb County Michigan State University Extension (MSUE) offices will help individuals apply.

“We know how complex this type of application can be, so our teams are standing by to help,” said Nancy Latham, a HUD certified housing counselor with Macomb County MSUE. “We will walk you through the process, help you find the right documentation and make sure your application is submitted correctly. Homeowners facing financial insecurity already deal with a significant amount of stress. We’re here to help remove some of that burden.”

Individuals looking to apply must meet the following guidelines:

  • They must have a qualified coronavirus-related financial hardship that occurred on or after January 21, 2020
  • They must have owned their home on or before January 21, 2020
  • They must currently own and occupy this home as their primary residence
  • They must have a household income equal to or less than 150 percent of the area median income (AMI). In Macomb County, the AMI for a family of four is $120,000, and the AMI for a family of two is $96,000.

Those approved for assistance can use their funds for:

  • Property taxes
  • Delinquent mortgage/housing expenses, escrow shortages and corporate advances
  • Delinquent land contract payments, mobile home consumer loan payments or contracted park lot payments
  • Condominium/homeowners association fees
  • Homeowners insurances,
  • Hazard, flood or mortgage insurance
  • Utilities, including gas, electric, water, sewer
  • Internet services

The MIHAF application portal is currently open. Individuals looking for additional information or those wishing to apply should contact Macomb County MSUE at 586-469-6430. For more information, visit the state’s MIHAF website here.



Macomb County Department of Roads keeps community safe during February snowstorms


February saw multiple snow events hit Metro Detroit. But as always, the Macomb County Department of Roads (MCDR) was ready to meet the challenge, working around the clock to ensure the safety of motorists.

“Michigan’s unpredictable weather impacts our roads, residents and community. Road safety and winter readiness are top priorities for Macomb County,” said MCDR Director Bryan Santo. “We work relentlessly to ensure our winter operations maintain a safe and drivable road system for all Macomb County motorists and visitors.”

For instance, during the first week of the month, the region experienced a major weather event. However the MCDR team had a plan in place and over a several day period, each team member worked a total of 67.5 hours and used 12,000 tons of salt to clear snow, ice and slush from roadways. These are incredible numbers and they’re just for one snowstorm.

Additional figures showcase the importance of the department and demonstrate why their work is essential for keeping our community operational:

  • MCDR has more than 100 snowplows, salt trucks and graders in its fleet
  • MCDR has more than 125 maintenance employees dedicated to keeping the roads clear
  • On average, MCDR uses more than 50,000 tons of salt each winter
  • On average, MCDR has an annual average budget of $4 million for on winter maintenance for primary, local and state roads, including keeping the fleet on the road and up to date with technology and equipment

So please join us in recognizing the MCDR employees that work tirelessly on our behalf. Thank you for everything you do, especially during the winter months. 



Save the Date


Macomb County Planning and Economic Development’s Macomb Next initiative helps businesses adopt Industry 4.0 technologies thereby increasing efficiency, reducing costs and freeing up employees to manage other tasks. Save the date for the program’s next workshop on April 26. More details coming soon.


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