On a parking lot corner of Elmwood Drive, "Benson's Vinaigrettes" sits, sort of lonely, in a part of Delta Township that's been vacated over the years.
The old movie theater is abandoned, and signs all up and down the street indicate land is available. It's an area that needs a shot in the arm in a township that the township staff believes needs an identity
"Cities and villages have the luxury of that downtown area that everyone can associate with. Townships don't have that," says assistant township manager Ken Lane.
The east side of Elmwood is just one of many spots they've dubbed possibilities for a development that would provide one.
"Downtown" could be something like Eastwood Towne Center, or something more traditional and old fashioned like a small-town downtown.
The staff will recommend the township board hire a consulting firm out of Kalamazoo called McKenna to study possible sites and the economic viability of the idea. It should be on the agenda in the next few weeks.
"We could be looking at concrete plans by summer," Lane says.
At Benson's Vinaigrettes, chef and owner Don Benson thinks it's a great idea for his business. He says competition is everywhere, but more development means more traffic.
"The more choices, the better," Benson says.
The township is adamant it only goes forward if business owners and citizens sign on to the idea. It should generate business, not just competition, which is why they'e starting slowly with a study.
"We don't wanna build something and then have an empty building," Lane says.