Morenci city council: road project 03.24.10

Written 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.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.
  • 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.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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