Business View Civil and Municipal | May/June 2022

23 CIVIL AND MUNICIPAL VOLUME 3, ISSUE 5 even know it. Here are some of the many amazing examples of how Michigan communities stepped up, but also illustrates ways League members are enhancing the human experience for people. Or in other words, it shows how they are building community wealth and maybe didn’t even realize it. Businesses across Michigan struggled to survive as COVID-19 swept the state last year, forcing their shutdowns to try to tame the worst pandemic in a century. But restaurants, retailers, hotels, offices, and other businesses in Birmingham faced an additional challenge: the heart of the city’s downtown was ripped up all summer, making it extremely difficult to navigate a large section of the city’s normally vibrant downtown. Birmingham Heads off a Calamity Construction began in May of 2020 on a $7.2 million project to replace aging underground utilities, pavement and sidewalks on a seven- block stretch of Maple Road and wasn’t completed until September. The pandemic and previously planned street project led the city commission to launch what may have been one of the most extensive local series of measures by a small city in the state to head off an economic calamity in this upscale Detroit suburb. Nearly two dozen initiatives were enacted to ease regulatory burdens and encourage shopping and dining downtown as state business-closing edicts were eased. They included delaying or waving a variety of fees for things such as outdoor dining platforms, liquor license renewals, and monthly employee parking permits. Birmingham also established free parking in the city’s parking structures, a bonus for downtown patrons. Businesses also were allowed to erect temporary signage without permits or fees to help residents find their way around the extensive street MI CHIGAN MUNI C I PAL LEAGUE