The epicenter of an early Wixom settlement bustled with a grain elevator, a hardware store, a barbershop, a hotel, and a rail-depot. Collectively, they emanated a successful and dynamic economic force.
Unfortunately, catastrophe decimated Wixom by fire! The economic and social vitality of the early settlement drifted skyward in the blaze, disappearing into the clouds and blown about by the winds-of-change. The transformation of Wixom continued, as it degenerated into a not-so-well-known community. The farmers planted their crops and brought their grains into a town where the economic pulse beat more slowly.
Nothing is as certain as change!
Opportunity filled the air when Ford Motor Company planted the ground with a 4.5 million square foot automotive assembly plant. From those industrial seeds sprouted the Incorporation of the City of Wixom. Change and transformation again changed the community: the horse stripped of its harness, the farmer’s plow disappeared, and manufacturing was the new “crop”.
And the farmers footprint? It was crushed by the weight of industrial mechanization and assembly by an automotive plant that replaced rows of corn with rows of brightly colored cars.
Industrialization, “Automotive Production” was the economic engine! Agricultural on pasture fields had taken a back seat.
In an explosion of urban migration and interspersed among woods, wetlands, and watercourses, residential subdivisions now sprouted. Residential homes were well planned, well constructed, and well hidden within natural attributes that defined the community.
Change and transformation because of industry now prodded the quietness of the community. Now there were questions of growth, traffic congestion, and retention of quieter times. However, as bright-colored cars came off the assembly line, residents acknowledged the community was now prospering.
Residents recognized prosperity when they passed by the giant automotive plant with its production of world-class vehicles. Wixom Assembly was touted as the “Flagship” of the Ford Motor Company. Prosperity lived in Wixom Assembly!
Nevertheless, as they passed through the epicenter of our quant, non-existent downtown, there was a frustration of not having a “hometown”. There was not a “visual” downtown! The “railroad tracks” defined the center of the town, as the “Crossroads Community” motto implied.
However, Wixom residents and community leaders saw the potential, agonized over the possibilities, planned for the optimistic, negotiated the impractical, and then deliberately placed building blocks within a textbook master-planning document that visually described and identified a future community.
Necessity, driven by prosperity, now ignited another transformation!
Wixom’s leadership encouraged planning and zoning that promoted and incorporated community necessities. Acknowledging that good fences make good neighbors, appropriate zoning integrated residential, business, and industrial interests respectful of a continuity of purpose as justification for the differentiation.
From inception as a City, community leaders and residents have worked toward developing the downtown area. Tremendous strides have been made, as there is now an embryonic-business center that has been recognized positively by residents and regional interests. The new downtown development has had a vibrant beginning.
But change and transformation are again upon us.
With the demise of the automotive industry and loss of employment, we will bear witness to another transition.
We have decisions to make, and some will be difficult.
However, Wixom is truly a “Community with Character”!
As it matures, so will its character!
There is nothing as certain as change!