Morenci city council 2013.01.16

Written by David Green.

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.

  • Shadow.salon
    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.
  • 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.

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