City council receives demolition clearance 7.7.2010

Clearance for the demolition of two buildings arrived by letter last week at Morenci city hall, paving the way for the next step in the parking lot improvement project.

The $761,000 project came to a halt while waiting for a response from the State Historic Preservation Office  (SHPO) regarding the demolition of the former Grange Hall and the Dunbar Auction House.

The agency examines property slated for demolition in state-funded projects to check for historical significance. The agency concluded that no historic properties were involved in the project.

However, the city is still waiting on another agency to allow the demolition of a house at the northeast corner of LaGrange and Orchard streets.

A public notice is published in this week’s Observer that outlines the project, seeks public comment through July 23, and announces the city’s intent to ask the State of Michigan to release funds for the work. The earliest that could occur, said city administrator/clerk Renée Schroeder, is Aug. 9.

Schroeder met Friday with mayor Keith Pennington, city supervisor Barney Vanderpool and engineer Scott Merillat to discuss the project.

“Because of the longer than expected delay from SHPO,” she said, “it doesn’t look like construction will begin until early spring.”

It was agreed not to tear up the parking areas until reconstruction could occur, so work would not be scheduled before winter. Schroeder expects bids to go out over the winter in preparation for work to begin in early spring.

Demolition of the two commercial buildings could begin any time after Aug. 9, Schroeder added, and city council may choose to proceed with that phase of the project this year.

Additional changes in the design of the parking areas south of Main Street are expected to be presented Monday at the city council meeting.

The project will reconstruct the two city parking lots on the south side of Main Street and rebuild Baker Street to include curb and gutters.

Demolition of the Grange and the house to the south will allow Orchard Street to be widened to a standard width and improve the intersection with Baker Street.

Through the demolition of the Dunbar building on North Street, the 12-foot alley north of Johnson’s Hardware will be widened for two-way traffic and alleviate access problems. Additional parking space will also be created.

  • Front.web
    NICE WORK—A spider remains at the center of a web, awaiting visitors, during a moist morning last month. The was built in front of Eagle Funeral Home in Morenci.
  • 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.
  • Front.bridge.17
    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.
  • Front.eclipse
    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.
  • Cecil
    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.
  • Front.rest
    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.
  • Front.batter
    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.