Morenci city council 2013.01.16

Written by David Green.


Morenci city council wasn’t looking to acquire more real estate, but it’s likely the city will be the new owner of the two former M&S Manufacturing buildings on Salisbury Street.

The Economic Development Corporation of Lenawee County (EDC) bought the buildings in 2006 when the suburban Detroit firm Alpine Industries expressed interest in moving into the vacant buildings.

The EDC convinced Morenci council to invest $20,000 in the project by way of a loan for environmental studies at the property. Council agreed, but the bulk of that loan remains unpaid.

Alpine moved to Hudson in 2010 and the EDC’s source of revenue to pay back its loan for buying the property disappeared. Any remaining EDC funds went to the bank that issued the loan rather than to Morenci. 

Morenci mayor Keith Pennington and city administrator Renée Schroeder have made repeated attempts to recover payment, and EDC finally offered to sell the property to the city for $1. United Bank and Trust, holder of the loan, agreed.

City council voted Monday to approve the deal with one condition. The agreement acknowledges that previous contamination issues existed on the site—problems that were addressed, Mayor Pennington said—but if any additional problems are found, the City has the option to reject the offer.

The EDC will pay $2,000 for a new environmental study.

POLE—Council learned that the cost of replacing a damaged downtown light pole is $5,170. Installation, including breaking out the surrounding concrete, will add to the cost.

The pole was damaged when struck by a combine. The insurance company of the combine owner will pay the cost of replacement.

EMS—Morenci Area EMS learned Jan. 9 that it is no longer the primary responder for emergency calls into Chesterfield Township south of Morenci. The Morenci unit will now be called only for mutual aid.

Tracy Schell, head of council’s Public Safety committee, said the decision was not made at the township level. She spoke with a member of the township board who wasn’t aware of the change.

SIDEWALKS—Page Street is next on the city’s schedule for sidewalk repair. All houses on the west side of the street will need to have sidewalks brought up to code or installed. 

Property owners can take advantage of the city’s offer to pay $7 a running foot—about half the cost—but if they don’t sign onto the city’s plan, they will be responsible for the entire cost.

Letters will be sent to property owners to provide details.

TREES—City superintendent Barney Vanderpool told council that he received a few complaints about tree trimming and removal along M-156 in the city. The city was not involved in the work, he said, and complaints should be addressed to the state highway department office in Adrian.

DOWNTOWN TREES—Mayor Pennington said the Downtown Development Authority pledged $500 toward the city’s plan to install planters with small trees in the downtown.

Pennington said that every donation helps, but he expressed disappointment with the DDA’s level of support.

EMS BUILDING—Pennington said he toured the EMS building with a consulting firm in an effort to address continuing maintenance needs at the location. If council accepts the company’s proposal to study the facility, the work will include examining the EMS building (former hospital clinic) as a new, larger location for the police department, also.

FIRE—Assistant fire chief Brad Lonis said that 12 members of the fire department had a perfect attendance record for training sessions over the past year and several more missed only once. Lonis said that’s an excellent record envied by other departments.

  • 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.crossing
    Crossing over—Jim Heiney was given a U.S. flag to carry by George Vereecke (behind Jim in the hat), turning him into the leader of the parade. Bridge Walk participants cross over Bean Creek while, in the background, members of the Morenci Legion Riders cross the main traffic bridge on East Street South. Additional photos appear on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • 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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