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.

  • Front.bridge Cross
    STEP BY STEP—Wyatt Stevens of Morenci makes his way across a rope bridge Sunday during the Michigan DNR’s Great Outdoors Jamboree at Lake Hudson Recreation Area. The Tecumseh Boy Scout Troop constructed the bridge again this year after taking a break in 2016. The Jamboree offered a variety of activities for a wide range of age groups. Morenci’s Stair District Library set up activities again this year and had visits with dozens of kids. See the back page for additional photos.
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    LEADING THE WAY—The Morenci Area High School marching band led the way across the pedestrian bridge on Morenci’s south side for the annual Labor Day Bridge Walk. The Band Boosters shared profits from the sale of T-shirts with the walk’s sponsor, the Morenci Area Chamber of Commerce. Additional photos are on the back page.
  • Front.eclipse
    LOOKING UP—More than 200 people showed up at Stair District Library Monday afternoon to view the big celestial event with free glasses provided by a grant from the Space Science Institute. The library offered craft activities from noon to 1 p.m., refreshments including Cosmic Cake from Zingerman’s Bakehouse and a live viewing of the eclipse from NASA on a large screen. As the sky darkened slightly, more and more people moved outside to the sidewalk to take a look at the shrinking sun. If you missed it, hang on for the next total eclipse in 2024 as the path comes even closer to this area.
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    THE MAYOR—Cecil Schoonover poses with a collection of garden gnomes that mysteriously arrive and disappear from his property. Along with the gnomes, someone created the sign stating that he is the Mayor of Gnomesville. He hasn’t yet tracked down the people involved in the prank, but he’s having a good time with the mystery.
  • Front.rest
    TAKE A BREAK—Last Wednesday’s session of Stair District Library’s Summer Reading Program ended with a quiet period in a class presented by yoga instructor Melany Gladieux of Toledo. Children learned a variety of yoga poses in the main room at the library, then finished off the session relaxing. Additional photos are on page 7. Area children are invited to visit the library today when the Michigan Science Center presents a flight program at 11 a.m. and roller coasters at 1 p.m.
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    THE DERBY—Tyler “Smallpox” Flakne of Minnesota’s Home Run League All-Stars goes for the fence Friday night during the National Wiffle League Association’s home run derby in Morenci. This year the wiffleball national tournament moved from Dublin, Ohio, to Morenci’s Wakefield Park. During the derby, competitors had two minutes to hit as many home runs as possible. The winner this year finished with 21. See page 6 and 7 for additional photos.
  • Front.green Screen
    OUT OF THIS WORLD—Elizabeth McFadden and Elise Christle pose in front of the green screen as VolunTeen Noah Gilson makes them appear as though they are standing on the Moon. More photos from the Stair District Library’s NASA @ My Library program are on page 12.
  • Front.fireworks
    FIREWORKS erupt Saturday night over Morenci’s Wakefield Park during the waning hours of the Town and Country Festival. Additional festival photos are inside.
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