The Weekly Newspaper serving the citizens of Morenci, Mich., Fayette, Ohio, and surrounding areas.

  • 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.
  • Front.bank.2
    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.carry.casket
    CARRYING—Riley Terry (blue jacket) and Mason Vaughn lead the way, carrying an empty casket outside to the hearse waiting at the curb. Morenci juniors and seniors visited Eagle Funeral Home last week to learn about the role of a funeral director and to understand the process of arranging for a funeral.
  • Front.lift
    MORENCI student Dalton McCowan puts everything into a dead lift attempt Saturday morning during the Wyseguy Push/Pull event. Lifters helped raise more than $1,600 for the family of the late Devin Wyse, a former Morenci power-lifter who graduated last year. Commemorative T-shirts are still available by contacting teacher Dan Hoffman.
  • 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.
  • Front.F.office
    NEW OFFICES—Fayette village administrator Steve Blue speaks with tax administrator Genna Biddix at the new front desk of the village office. Village council members voted to use budgeted renovation funds targeted for the old office and instead buy the vacant bank building on the corner of Main and Fayette streets. The old office was sold to Sherwood State Bank. When everything is put into place in the spacious new village office, an open house will be scheduled. Council member David Wheeler donated all of his time needed to make changes in the bank interior to fit the Village’s needs.

Proposal heard for Knoblauch building renovation 11.14.2010

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

A developer from Mason, Mich., is hoping to renovate the former Knoblauch Fine Foods building on Morenci’s Main Street. The project would include a Subway sandwich shop, other retail space and four studio apartments.

Ketan Patel is seeking funds through the state Façade Grant Program to refurbish the exterior of the property at 203 and 205 W. Main St. A notice from the City of Morenci in this week’s Observer shows that Patel is seeking a $164,000 CDBG grant. He would invest more than $212,000 to renovate the building’s interior.

Patel plans to open a Subway at 203 W. Main and offer additional retail space for rent in the adjoining location.

“Currently I am planning to have four studio type apartments upstairs,” he said, “but that will be phase two renovation.”

The building was constructed in 1882 for the Bank of Morenci and has had a variety of uses in the past 30 years since the grocery closed.

The building needs extensive repair work, Patel said, and he welcomes the possibility of the façade grant to help with the project. Since the funding is funneled to the state from federal sources, Patel would be required to maintain the historical appearance of the building.

The building is still owned by Mark Knoblauch and Patel would not take possession until the grant process is complete.

Patel said he is very fond of the building, but if he fails to obtain the façade grant, he will reëvaluate the project and perhaps obtain a Subway franchise in another Morenci building.

Patel, a self-employed engineer, has a Subway franchise in Lansing and Hudson, plus a pizza franchise in East Lansing. He enjoys small town businesses because transactions go beyond good food and good service. People are more likely to stop in and talk. It’s more like serving family, he said.

The public has until Dec. 9 to offer comments on the project before the City applies for the release of funds.

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