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.bridge Cross
    STEP BY STEP—Wyatt Stevens of Morenci makes his way across a rope bridge Sunday during the Michigan DNR’s Great Outdoors Jamboree at Lake Hudson Recreation Area. The Tecumseh Boy Scout Troop constructed the bridge again this year after taking a break in 2016. The Jamboree offered a variety of activities for a wide range of age groups. Morenci’s Stair District Library set up activities again this year and had visits with dozens of kids. See the back page for additional photos.
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    LEADING THE WAY—The Morenci Area High School marching band led the way across the pedestrian bridge on Morenci’s south side for the annual Labor Day Bridge Walk. The Band Boosters shared profits from the sale of T-shirts with the walk’s sponsor, the Morenci Area Chamber of Commerce. Additional photos are on the back page.
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    LOOKING UP—More than 200 people showed up at Stair District Library Monday afternoon to view the big celestial event with free glasses provided by a grant from the Space Science Institute. The library offered craft activities from noon to 1 p.m., refreshments including Cosmic Cake from Zingerman’s Bakehouse and a live viewing of the eclipse from NASA on a large screen. As the sky darkened slightly, more and more people moved outside to the sidewalk to take a look at the shrinking sun. If you missed it, hang on for the next total eclipse in 2024 as the path comes even closer to this area.
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    THE MAYOR—Cecil Schoonover poses with a collection of garden gnomes that mysteriously arrive and disappear from his property. Along with the gnomes, someone created the sign stating that he is the Mayor of Gnomesville. He hasn’t yet tracked down the people involved in the prank, but he’s having a good time with the mystery.
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    TAKE A BREAK—Last Wednesday’s session of Stair District Library’s Summer Reading Program ended with a quiet period in a class presented by yoga instructor Melany Gladieux of Toledo. Children learned a variety of yoga poses in the main room at the library, then finished off the session relaxing. Additional photos are on page 7. Area children are invited to visit the library today when the Michigan Science Center presents a flight program at 11 a.m. and roller coasters at 1 p.m.
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    THE DERBY—Tyler “Smallpox” Flakne of Minnesota’s Home Run League All-Stars goes for the fence Friday night during the National Wiffle League Association’s home run derby in Morenci. This year the wiffleball national tournament moved from Dublin, Ohio, to Morenci’s Wakefield Park. During the derby, competitors had two minutes to hit as many home runs as possible. The winner this year finished with 21. See page 6 and 7 for additional photos.
  • Front.green Screen
    OUT OF THIS WORLD—Elizabeth McFadden and Elise Christle pose in front of the green screen as VolunTeen Noah Gilson makes them appear as though they are standing on the Moon. More photos from the Stair District Library’s NASA @ My Library program are on page 12.
  • Front.fireworks
    FIREWORKS erupt Saturday night over Morenci’s Wakefield Park during the waning hours of the Town and Country Festival. Additional festival photos are inside.
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