Parking rebuild proposal introduced 02.10.10

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

Elected officials often aren’t pleased to face a large audience at a public meeting, but that’s not the case with a proposal facing Morenci city council.

Mayor Keith Pennington wants to see citizens in city hall Feb. 22 when council discusses a proposal to rebuild parking areas on the south side of the business district.

Pennington presented a drawing of the proposal Monday, noting that it’s far from being a final plan.

Scott Merillat of Associated Engineers in Adrian said the drawing was done fairly quickly as a starting point for discussion. He said he wouldn’t be offended by questions and challenges to the plan, and other options are available.

The initial design calls for the lots in front and in back of city hall to be repaved. Curbing would be installed along the entire length of Baker Street and in the alley leading from Main Street to city hall.

Several small “green islands” with shrubbery would be created in both lots.

The narrow width of Baker Street and the north block of Orchard Street could lead to one-way traffic once curbing is installed. Merillat cautioned that the drawing was completed from an aerial photograph and the exact dimensions would not be known until survey work was done.

After viewing a parking project in Tecumseh, a plan to cluster trash Dumpsters was added to the drawing rather than the existing condition of receptacles at the back doors of businesses.

“It would clean up the back of businesses quite a lot,” Pennington said, but added, “How do business owners feel about that? We’d like to know.”

The mayor said council needs to look at proposed changes as a fix for the next 50 years.

Audience member Colleen Leddy said she appreciates the space designated for greenery.

“As a Tree City,” she said, “we should put trees in whenever we do something.”

Pennington noted that the green islands will present a maintenance challenge and he’s seeking ideas about that, also.

Tackling the project depends on the city’s ability to receive a grant through the Infrastructure Capacity Enhancement (ICE) program.

Money will be allocated in the next budget to rebuild the east parking lot. Without spending a lot more money, Pennington said, the west lot could also be addressed if grant money was received.

Funds from the sale of the communications tower property in the industrial park could be directed to the project.

“We’ve never seen a grant quite like this,” said city administrator/clerk Renée Schroeder. “It’s very hard and very costly for a community to keep up parking areas.”

The proposal faces time constraints to meet the grant application deadline. Pennington said council is accepting ideas, but they will have to be submitted soon.

PROMEDICA—Council voted to accept a warranty deed for the former Morenci Area Hospital property from ProMedica Health Systems.

The city attorney examined the document and said the city’s environmental concerns were addressed.

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    WRECKAGE—Morenci Fire Department member Taylor Schisler walks past the smoking wreckage of a semi-truck tractor on the north side of the Norfolk and Southern Railroad tracks on Ranger Highway. The truck trailer was on the south side of the tracks
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    SCULPTORS—Morenci third grade students Emersyn Thompson (left) and Marissa Lawrence turn spaghetti sticks into mini sculptures Friday during a class visit to Stair District Library. All Morenci Elementary School classes recently visited the library to experience the creative construction toys purchased through the “Sculptamania!” project, funded by a Disney Curiosity Creates grant. The grant is administered by the Association for Library Services to Children, a division of the American Library Association.
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    REFEREE Camden Miller raises the hand of Morenci Jr. Dawgs wrestler Ryder Ryan as his opponent leaves the mat in disappointment. Morenci’s youth wrestling program served as host for a tournament Saturday morning to raise money for the club. Additional photos are on the back page.
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    SHERWOOD STATE Bank opened its Fayette office at a grand opening Friday morning, drawing a large crowd to view the renovated building. Above, Burt Blue talks to teller Cindy Funk, while his wife, Jackie, looks around the new office. The Blues missed the opening and took a quick tour on Tuesday. Few traces remain of the former grocery store and theater, however, part of the original brick wall still shows in the hallway leading to the back of the building. The drive-through window should be ready for customers later in the month.
  • Front.make.three
    FROM THE LEFT, Landon Wilkins, Ryan White and Logan Blaker try out their artistic skills Saturday afternoon at the Morenci PTO’s first Date to Create event. More than 50 people showed up to create decorated planks of wood to hang from rope. The event served as a fund-raiser for miscellaneous PTO projects. Additional photos are on the back of this week’s Observer.

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