Morenci city council 9.24

Written by David Green.


A few residents on North Washington Street aren’t opposed to the installation of sidewalks in their neighborhood; they just want a little extra time to get the job done.

Their request made sense to Morenci city council members who voted unanimously Monday night to delay the deadline.

City council adopted a sidewalk repair and installation program in 2005 and designated the area of town near the elementary school as the starting point. Several properties in the area have no sidewalk at all and others are in need of repair or replacement.

A portion of the work was completed, but the project was derailed due to funding. The city shares in approximately half the cost of sidewalk work if property owners make arrangements through the city and complete the work by the deadline listed in notification letters.

Washington Street resident Gary Valentine said he doesn’t disagree with the need to install sidewalks—he’s watched people walk in the road for many years—but he thinks the six-week time limit was too short.

Valentine noted that mention of his neighborhood was mentioned in the Observer more than two years ago and nothing was done.

“Now it must be done on really short notice,” he said. “I’d like to see an extended amount of time. It’s foolish not to take advantage of the city’s plan, but it’s a large outlay of cash.”

Brad Lonis agreed, noting that the bad economy will make it challenge to get the work done quickly. He suggestion that residences should be given the same time frame as the school. A walk along Locust Street by the elementary school will be installed next summer after the renovation projects that include paving the parking loop in front of the school.

City supervisor Barney Vanderpool agreed that the process became rushed after waiting to see what the school had planned.

“I apologize on that part,” he said.

Councilor Tracy Schell made a motion to allow the same time frame as the school, but she agreed to a change after council member Keith Pennington reminded the group of the annual budget for sidewalk repair.

In order to take advantage of the funds already budgeted for the current fiscal year, he suggested giving residents a June 30 deadline. Council voted 7-0 in favor of the delay.

Councilor Leasa Slocum expressed concern about the next phase of repair, wondering if those residents would also seek an extension.

Vanderpool said he would alleviate that concern by getting notification letters out earlier in the future. That will allow residents more time to make arrangements for having the work completed.

The next phase of the sidewalk plan moves to Gorham Street. Several residents there were ordered by city council to install walks in 1994.

At that time, a court injunction was sought against the city and at least one resident removed a sidewalk rather than repair it.

Although several property owners installed new walks, others refused to cooperate and complained about sidewalks leading to nowhere at the edge of the city.

SKYLINE DRIVE—Council approved a regulation to limit parking to the south side of Skyline Drive, the road leading from East Street into the industrial park.

Police chief Larry Weeks said he had received complaints about semi-trailers parking along both sides of the street and sometimes in the middle of the street.

He recommended keeping the north side of the street free of parking since fire hydrants are located on that side.

LIBRARY—Three-year appointments were renewed for two Stair Public Library board of directors, Sally Kruger and Mike Gillen.

RADIOS—Chief Weeks was given permission to replace three radios. Funds would come from the account derived from  drunk driving arrests.

INVENTORY—City administrator clerk Renée Schroeder attended meeting at the Lenawee Economic Development Corporation. Director James Gartin wants the help of community officials in creating an inventory of available buildings and property.

INVESTMENTS—City treasurer Stephanie Mossing attended a meeting designed to help communities protect investments in light of national economic concerns. Savings are insured to $100,000, Schroeder noted, and Morenci splits its savings between the two local banks.

  • Front.cowboy
    A PERFORMER named Biligbaatar, a member of the AnDa Union troupe from Inner Mongolia, dances at Stair District Library last week during a visit to the Midwest. The nine-member group blends a variety of traditions from Inner and Outer Mongolia. The music is described as drawing from “all the Mongol tribes that Genghis Khan unified.” The group considers itself music gatherers whose goal is to preserve traditional sounds of Mongolia. Biligbaatar grew up among traditional herders who live in yurts. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.base Ball
    UMPIRE Thomas Henthorn tosses the bat between team captains Mikayla Price and Chuck Piskoti of Flint’s Lumber City Base Ball Club. Following the 1860 rules, after the bat was grabbed by the captains, captains’ hands advanced to the top of the bat—one hand on top of the other. The captain whose hand ended up on top decided who would bat first. Additional photos of Sunday’s game appear on page 12 of this week’s Observer. The contest was organized in conjunction with Stair District Library’s Hometown Teams exhibit that runs through Nov. 20.
    VALUE OF ATHLETICS—Morenci graduate John Bancroft (center) takes a turn at the microphone during a chat session at the opening of the Hometown Teams exhibit at Stair District Library. Clockwise to his left is John Dillon, Jed Hall, Jim Bauer, Joe Farquhar, George Hollstein, George Vereecke and Mike McDowell. Thomas Henthorn (at the podium) kicked off the conversation. Henthorn, a University of Michigan–Flint professor, will return to Morenci this Sunday to lead a game of vintage base ball at the school softball field.
  • Front.cross
    HUDSON RUNNER Jacob Morgan looks toward the top of the hill with dismay during the tough finish at Harrison Lake State Park. Fayette runner Jacob Garrow focuses on the summit, also, during the Eagle Invitational cross country run Saturday morning. Continuing rain and drizzle made the course even more challenging. Results of the race are in this week’s Observer.
  • Front.bear
    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.
  • Front.crossing
    Crossing over—Jim Heiney was given a U.S. flag to carry by George Vereecke (behind Jim in the hat), turning him into the leader of the parade. Bridge Walk participants cross over Bean Creek while, in the background, members of the Morenci Legion Riders cross the main traffic bridge on East Street South. Additional photos appear on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.hose Testing
    HOSE safety—The FireCatt hose testing company from Troy put Morenci Fire Department hose to the test Monday morning when Mill Street was closed to traffic. The company also checks nozzles and ladders for wear in an effort to keep fire fighters safe while on calls.

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