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.