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Looking back on 2017 and towards a happy, prosperous 2018

The Big, Bright Light Show

Day of Service 2017

2017 has certainly been a year! As we look forward to what lies ahead in 2018, we want to take a moment to reflect on the year that was and the stories we told here at Prosper. 

All eyes have been on Pontiac this year, particularly as the downtown rapidly redevelops. While it still remains to be seen if Pontiac will benefit from the same level of renewed urban interest as Detroit, there is no denying that this is a new dawn for the city. 

But what about Oakland County's many other beautiful, historic, and vibrant downtowns? Downtown Milford just may be the beating heart of western Oakland County, while downtown Madison Heights is full of unexpected surprises. Downtown Farmington is taking a "slow and steady" approach to revitalization. In the meantime, predominantly residential suburb Oak Park is reinventing itself, and downtown Southfield offers the three things business owners and employers want most: location, location, location. 

But "location" can be tricky with a metro area spread out as far and wide as greater Detroit's. Oakland County alone is 907 square miles - just 300 square miles short of being the same size as Rhode Island, and that's a whole state. So what happens when people start to desire other methods of transportation than the Motor City's signature cars and want to live in communities that are more walkable and less motorized vehicle-dependent? Cities like Troy, Sterling Heights, and Southfield are all working to address that

On the other side of that same transit coin, Oakland County is actively working to build a pilot autonomous vehicle network, recognizing that self-driving and connected cars ARE the future of the automotive industry. 

Sports and recreation continue to be a focus for many Oakland County communities, and the velodrome in Rochester Hills adds to the area's national outdoor recreation and competitive cycling appeal. The Brooksie Way half marathon is also an official Half Marathon Championship Race now, but the competitive element aside, the series of 5ks and half marathons continue to be an impactful fundraising and granting program, with over $200,000 in Brooksie Way Minigrant funding granted to health and fitness programs throughout the County over the last 10 years. 

Philanthropy is as important as ever, with organizations like Impact100 and Leadership Oakland also making meaningful contributions to the community. 

There is no age limit on educational opportunities in Oakland County and it's also never too early for kids to start thinking about their futures, as a number of programs in different communities focus on developing Oakland County's future leaders and changemakers, preparing kids for working in a global economy with a foreign exchange student program for middle schoolers, and the Michigan Advanced Technician Training Program develops the talent pipeline of high-skilled advanced manufacturing employees through an apprenticeship-like program open to all ages (over 18, of course).  

And, as Beyonce once so wisely told us, girls run the world, and they also run some very successful businesses: EverythingHR and Unified Business Technologies are woman- AND minority-owned businesses that are game-changers in their respective industries.  

Finally, we love bats. That's it. We just love bats. 

We're taking a break for the holiday season and will return again after the first of the year, so until then, we wish you all safe and happy holidays with lots of rest, relaxation, and quality time spent with loved ones. Thank you for reading Oakland County Prosper and cheers to another wonderful, prosperous year! 
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