Morenci city council: road project 03.24.10

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

Progress continues toward obtaining a $1.17 million state grant to complete the road through Morenci’s industrial park. Although the process didn’t proceed as smoothly as first anticipated, Morenci mayor Keith Pennington remains positive.

City council voted Monday to send a Notice of Intent to the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and Pennington is looking for approval by the end of April.

The letter of intent, in effect, seeks approval from the state development corporation to resume work on the road project and to begin spending money on additional design work.

City council voted Monday to proceed with engineering work—a process that was halted two years ago.

Building a north-south road through the park from Main Street to the existing Skyline Drive was included in the Palm Plastics expansion project in 2008. The national economic downturn brought the expansion to a halt in Morenci and the road project was shelved.

More than $10,000 was spent on the initial design work before the project was put on hold. Council voted Monday to authorize the use of $7,000 to continue the work. The money comes from a fund established for the project in 2008. Associated Engineers of Adrian will continue where they left off from the earlier work.

The engineering work will make the project “shovel ready,” councilor Greg Braun said, should final approval come from the state. The city’s goal is to complete the project this year.

Braun learned that the money spent on design work will be considered a portion of the city’s $100,000 match for the project. The design fund contains $14,000.

A large portion of the city’s share will come from the sewer fund.

SPECIAL PROJECTS—Mayor Pennington has spoken to several council members about researching long-term projects.

“These all require a lot of background research,” he said.

Councilors would work with city administrator-clerk Renée Schroeder and eventually bring the research to the committee level. The work goes beyond the usual call of duty, he said, and he appreciates the effort.

At this point, Joe Varga has agreed to work on the city’s five-year plan; to investigate the cost of bringing a fiber optics connection to the city; explore the creation of a Wi-Fi (wireless internet connection) hotspot downtown; and look into the creation of a park events board.

Tracy Schell will continue work toward construction of an electrical substation at the industrial park, and she will survey surrounding communities in regard to employee compensation and taxation.

Leasa Slocum will explore establishing a farmer’s market and will join others on the substation and recreation plan projects.

Pennington has identified 14 projects in all to explore.

  • Front.tug
    MORENCI pep rallies generally end with a tug of war. The senior class entry, shown above, did not advance to the finals. Griffin Grieder, Alaina Webster, Kyle Long and Jazmin Smith are shown at the front of the rope, giving it their best effort.
  • Accident
    FAYETTE resident Patricia Stambaugh, 64, was declared dead on the scene of a single-vehicle accident Friday morning south of Morenci. Rescue units were called around 9 a.m., but as of Tuesday, law enforcement officers had not yet determined the time of the accident. According to Ohio State Highway Patrol, Stambaugh was driving west on U.S. 20 when her Chevrolet Malibu traveled off the north side of the road and down a steep embankment, coming to rest in Bean Creek (Tiffin River).
  • Athletic Fields
    SPORTS COMPLEX—Fayette’s outdoor athletic facilities will include three ball fields for summer recreation leagues at the southwest corner of the school. The baseball and softball fields, along with the running track, will be constructed on the east side of the school. Outdoor athletic fields were not part of the new school project from 2007, but voters approved a $1.4 million levy for a school addition and the sports fields last August. Both projects are scheduled to be complete by July 20.
  • Front.teacher Leading
    PRESCHOOL MUSIC—Fayette band director Jeffrey Dunford spends the last half hour of the day leading the full-day preschool class in musical activities. Additional photos are on page 7 of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.F.band
    TROMBONISTS Jake Myers (left) and Max Baker perform Friday at the annual Senior Citizens Luncheon at Fayette High School. The National Honor Society and the FFA chapter teamed up to serve a meal to area seniors and to provide musical entertainment. Both the school band and choir performed. Additional photos are on page 7 of this week’s Observer.
  • Station.2
    STRANGE STUFF—Morenci Elementary School students learn that blue isn’t really blue when seen through the right color of lens. Volunteer April Pike presents the lesson to students at one of the many stations brought to the school by the COSI science center. The theme of this year’s visit was the solar system.
  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.

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