City council receives demolition clearance 7.7.2010

Written by David Green.

Clearance for the demolition of two buildings arrived by letter last week at Morenci city hall, paving the way for the next step in the parking lot improvement project.

The $761,000 project came to a halt while waiting for a response from the State Historic Preservation Office  (SHPO) regarding the demolition of the former Grange Hall and the Dunbar Auction House.

The agency examines property slated for demolition in state-funded projects to check for historical significance. The agency concluded that no historic properties were involved in the project.

However, the city is still waiting on another agency to allow the demolition of a house at the northeast corner of LaGrange and Orchard streets.

A public notice is published in this week’s Observer that outlines the project, seeks public comment through July 23, and announces the city’s intent to ask the State of Michigan to release funds for the work. The earliest that could occur, said city administrator/clerk Renée Schroeder, is Aug. 9.

Schroeder met Friday with mayor Keith Pennington, city supervisor Barney Vanderpool and engineer Scott Merillat to discuss the project.

“Because of the longer than expected delay from SHPO,” she said, “it doesn’t look like construction will begin until early spring.”

It was agreed not to tear up the parking areas until reconstruction could occur, so work would not be scheduled before winter. Schroeder expects bids to go out over the winter in preparation for work to begin in early spring.

Demolition of the two commercial buildings could begin any time after Aug. 9, Schroeder added, and city council may choose to proceed with that phase of the project this year.

Additional changes in the design of the parking areas south of Main Street are expected to be presented Monday at the city council meeting.

The project will reconstruct the two city parking lots on the south side of Main Street and rebuild Baker Street to include curb and gutters.

Demolition of the Grange and the house to the south will allow Orchard Street to be widened to a standard width and improve the intersection with Baker Street.

Through the demolition of the Dunbar building on North Street, the 12-foot alley north of Johnson’s Hardware will be widened for two-way traffic and alleviate access problems. Additional parking space will also be created.

  • 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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