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.train
    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.
  • Funcolor
    LEONIE LEAHY was one of three local hair stylists who volunteered time Friday at the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Her customer, Aubrey Sandusky, looks up at her mother while her hair takes on a perfect match to her outfit. Leahy said she had a great time at the event—nothing but happy clients.
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    LEARNING THE ROPES—Kristy Castillo (left), co-owner of Mane Street Salon, works with Kendal Kuhn as Sierra Orner takes a phone call. The two Morenci Area High School juniors spent Friday at the salon as part of a job shadowing experience.
  • KayseInField
    IN THE FIELD—2004 Morenci graduate Kayse Onweller works in a test plot of wheat in Texas. She’s part of Bayer CropScience’s North American wheat breeding program based in Nebraska, where she completed post-graduate work in plant breeding and genetics.
  • Front.winner
    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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