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.

  • Front.nok Hok
    GAMES DAY—Finn Molitierno (right) celebrates a goal during a game of Nok Hockey with his sister, Kyla. The two tried out a variety of games Saturday at Stair District Library’s annual International Games Day event. One of the activities featured a sort of scavenger hunt in which participants had to locate facts presented in the Smithsonian Hometown Teams exhibit. The traveling show left Morenci’s library Tuesday, wrapping up a series of programs that began Oct. 2. Additional photos are on page 7.
  • Station.2
    STRANGE STUFF—Morenci Elementary School students learn that blue isn’t really blue when seen through the right color of lens. Volunteer April Pike presents the lesson to students at one of the many stations brought to the school by the COSI science center. The theme of this year’s visit was the solar system.
  • Front.leaves
    MAPLE leaves show their fall colors in a puddle at Morenci’s Riverside Natural Area. “This was a great year for colors,” said local weather watcher George Isobar. Chilly mornings will give way to seasonable fall temperatures for the next two weeks.
  • Front.band
    MORENCI Marching Band member Brittany Dennis keeps the beat Friday during the half-time show of the Morenci/Pittsford football game. Color guard member Jordan Cordts is at the left. The band performed this season under the direction of Doyle Rodenbeck who served as Morenci’s band director in the 1970s. He’s serving as a substitute during a family leave.
  • 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.
  • 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.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.

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