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.little Ball
    Fayette's Demetrious Whiteside (left)Skylar Lester attempt to keep the ball from going out of bounds during Morenci's recent basketball tournament for fourth and fifth grade teams. Morenci's Andrew Schmidt stands by.
  • 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.
  • 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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