COMMERCIAL-NEWS | ROBERT TOMLINSON
Allen Edwin Homes Land Acquisition Manager Benjamin Diehl answers questions about the company’s future use for the 611 Coolidge Rd. property they are looking to buy from the city during Tuesday’s Three Rivers City Commission meeting.
By Robert Tomlinson
THREE RIVERS — Allen Edwin Homes will be developing more land in the city of Three Rivers following the approval of a land sale by city commissioners at their meeting Tuesday.
The city will be selling a 5-acre parcel of land at 611 Coolidge Rd. to Allen Edwin for $50,000 for the purpose of working with the city on a development plan for the property. The city will be retaining a “small sliver” of land along Coolidge and the area where a sewer lift station is located.
The parcel is located near the Meadows at Coolidge Place condo project and a separate project at Garfield Court, both of which Allen Edwin is expected to help develop. Mayor Tom Lowry told commissioners the company is “preparing to purchase and finish” the Meadows project.
Any future development on the Coolidge property following the sale will need to be approved by the city and meet all zoning requirements, Lowry said.
While it is likely that there will be some sort of housing built on the property, Allen Edwin Land Acquisition Manager Benjamin Diehl told city commissioners there’s “a couple of things we’d like to try.”
“We’re looking to secure that property because we’ve made a series of investments in that neighborhood and we’d like to be able to continue working with you guys to try and figure out the best path forward,” Diehl said. “We understand communities all over the area are suffering from housing shortages of all sorts. We have a couple of things that we’d like to try to do, but ultimately, we’re willing to work with you to figure out what the best path forward is.”
At-Large Commissioner Lucas Allen asked Diehl if Allen Edwin was “guaranteeing” that they would build on the property if all the approvals go through, and Diehl confirmed as much.
“We have every intention of developing it at some point in coordination and consultation with the staff and city commission,” Diehl said. “The planning commission will have a review process, it’ll get public notices, so everybody will have an opportunity to weigh on it. In order for us to make any plans, we need to secure the property first.”
First District Commissioner Pat Dane, who lives in the Meadows condo complex, said Allen Edwin should take the senior housing in the complex, and the seniors themselves, into consideration when developing the Coolidge property.
“You have to take into account traffic, and that’s the biggest concern, I think, for the people in the Meadows, the added traffic if that’s going to be a main road,” Dane said.
Diehl said he understood the issue, and conceded that because the development would be residential of some sort, there would be “some additional traffic,” but the extent of it would be a “conversation that will continue to unfold as time goes on.” Dane said she hopes “there’s another way out of this on just Coolidge.”
The sale was approved 4-0, with Third District Commissioner Chris Abel, Fourth District Commissioner Carolyn McNary and At-Large Commissioner Torrey Brown absent.
In other business…
Commissioners approved an initial resolution for the city to apply for a Michigan Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) competitive funding round for a downtown amphitheater on the east side of downtown, with a public hearing to be held at the city’s next meeting on April 18 prior to a final approval for applying. The amphitheater would be located in the grassy area east of the east parking lot behind downtown. The city will request $1,953,445 in funding, with the Downtown Development Agency kicking in $195,344.50, 10 percent of the requested funds, if they receive the grant.
Commissioners approved a revision to its discussion meeting schedule for the Fiscal Year 2024 budget. The dates are now Tuesday, May 23 and Tuesday, May 30, all from 6-9 p.m. at City Hall. The public hearing on the budget is still set for the city’s first regular meeting in June, Tuesday, June 6 at 6 p.m. at City Hall.
Commissioners approved a budget revision for Fiscal Year 2023, which, among others, included a $7.34 million adjustment down on sewer fund revenues, bringing projected revenues down from $29.1 million to $21.7 million in the amended budget. The reason for the adjustment, Lowry explained, was because the city didn’t need to issue as many bonds for a Wastewater Treatment Plant project as they had anticipated.
Commissioners approved a $342,355 purchase order to DC Byers Co. of Grand Rapids for elevated walkway repairs in the east parking lot downtown. The scope of the project, which is scheduled to begin after July 1, includes blasting and painting of the steel supports under the walkway, concrete repairs and sealing of the surface and edges, and replacement of the handrails.
Commissioners approved a resolution asking the state to reinstate a $250 million allocation to support pension plans that were over a 60 percent funding threshold and “used best practice standards,” as outlined in House Bill 5054 of 2022. According to the background information of the resolution, this funding was removed, and the state would only assist communities that were under the 60 percent funding limit.
Robert Tomlinson can be reached at 279-7488 or firstname.lastname@example.org.