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What Will The Loss of the Palace Mean to Oakland County?

Don’t let city of Auburn Hills or county officials fool you, losing the Palace of Auburn Hills is a tremendous loss for Oakland County. An industrial or business complex on the current Palace of Auburn Hills location (and / or the Pontiac Silverdome location) won’t ease the loss of the identity and community we will feel. The loss will mean more than dollars and cents.

Full disclosure, this was originally going to be a nostalgia piece. I’m sentimental for the Palace of Auburn Hills because of what it meant to me growing up in Shelby Twp in the late 80s through life right now in my hometown of Rochester Hills. To say I visited the Palace often since my youth would be an understatement. However, I’m going to resist my urge at this time to write about Detroit Vipers, Pistons, Shock, concerts, kids events, and date nights at The Palace.

More disclosure, I fully understand the trends of the sports and entertainment industry and completely realize this is a great move for Detroit, Tom Gores, and people from Metro Detroit that view I-75 Exit 81
(and its traffic) as a long voyage. I’m not at all angry “we” lost the Pistons and their wonderful facility. The writing has been on the wall for years even though I was actually hoping that the 2011 Palace renovation could have staved off the inevitable for another decade or so. This isn’t a Detroit vs Oakland County thing. The point is… if YOU build it, THEY will come. Well, WE built it in the 70s & 80s and THEY CAME – in droves! Now, it’s (almost) gone and there is nothing to replace it.

While Auburn Hills officials and Oakland County officials may try to minimize the loss of the Palace, they can’t ignore the fact that its absence will leave a giant, at least figurative, hole. Beyond local businesses
feeling the brunt, the Palace of Auburn Hills was our civic pride and crown jewel of Oakland County – the land of Automation Alley. For a period of over 15 years, Oakland County had BOTH the mighty Pontiac Silverdome and Palace of Auburn Hills as shining beacons. Everyone flocked to US.

We had to endure the Silverdome’s shameful mismanagement and ultimate collapse. While it’s a little too early to tell, we’re most likely going to watch the Palace topple to make way for an industrial park. There just isn’t as much to celebrate in Oakland County any more, and there are certainly fewer places to celebrate it.

I’m not here to somehow blame Oakland County or county officials. I just can’t help but feel that, as an Oakland County resident, that I’m now on the outside looking in. I’m proud of Detroit and its rebuilding efforts. Like I said, I completely understand Tom Gore’s decision to move the Pistons to Detroit. Little Caesars Arena looks incredible! Our neighbors down M-59 in Macomb County have done great things with Partridge Creek, and that Jimmy John’s field in Downtown Utica is fantastic. I’ll always remember fondly when WE were the entertainment destination. Now WE are the ones that have to travel for it.

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