By DAVID GREEN
Morenci mayor Keith Pennington is looking for a little give and take in the next step of the parking lot rebuild project.
After talking with engineers designing the new parking areas, Pennington learned the preferred plan is to create a new property line at the back of the businesses located on the south side of Main Street.
Many businesses have differing back property lines, Pennington told council members Monday. The lines are ascribed to an old alley that was never platted and doesn’t actually exist.
Rather than create a sidewalk that would follow a jagged line across the north side of the parking lot, engineers suggest striking a new straight line to establish the edge of properties for placement of a curb and sidewalk.
Any existing property south of the line would be given to the city; any of the city’s property that falls north of the line would be given to the business owner.
Pennington said the area between the sidewalk and the back of the business would be concrete, but business owners would be able to plan landscaping if they chose.
Pennington sought council’s approval for him to contact businesses with drawings in hand to seek cooperation from owners.
“I think it will make for a much cleaner project for us,” he said, “and in the future it will enhance their properties.”
Pennington described two other changes in the project.
At the west end, the owner of the former video rental store agreed to deed a portion of the property on the building’s east end to the city. This will allow Baker Street to shift to the west, creating a wider parking area along the fire hall and creating seven new parking spaces on the west side of Baker Street.
A sidewalk will also be included in the project.
On the east end of the parking lots, the owners of the Village Inn restaurant agreed to give away a few feet of their property for construction of a sidewalk.
The walk will connect with Main Street and travel to the new sidewalk that will be built along the back of businesses.
The project will require the removal of the existing landscaping along the restaurant, but new planting is planned.
“I think this will greatly improve the visibility and safety of the parking lots,” Pennington said about the sidewalks.
Councilor Greg Braun agreed, stating that people will no longer have to walk behind cars parked at the restaurant.
Council members voted unanimously, with Art Erbskorn absent, to accept the engineers’ design and seek approval from business owners for the new property line.
MEDICAL MARIJUANA—Council approved a recommendation by councilor Tracy Schell to continue the moritorium on medical marijuana dispensaries for up to an additional 12 months while awaiting further direction from the federal level.
SUBWAY—Schroeder said the façade grant request filed by Ketan Patel of Mason, Mich., will be considered by a state panel in February. Patel intends to renovate the Knoblauch building on Main Street and open a Subway restaurant.
NWD—City supervisor Barney Vanderpool told council he has winterized the former N.W.D. building at the back of Wakefield Park. The building was used during the Kiwanis Wishing Tree project. Vanderpool said it can easily be reopened if it’s rented.
PROMEDICA—Pennington said there’s been discussion at the committee level about when ProMedica Health System will give the city possession of the ambulance training facility.