Allegan County News & Union Enterprise

Work to begin on Allegan bridge, streetscape

By Gari Voss

Allegan’s City Council balanced requests from the public with normal business during their March 28, 2022 meeting. As summer approaches, music is scheduled to return to the Riverfront, and the Griswold will be filled with a benefit for Ukraine Relief, a couple May concerts and monthly rehearsals of a West Michigan ensemble.
The Study Session began with a full house as Police Chief Jay Gibson reviewed the progress on funding a School Resource Officer for Allegan Public Schools. With the approval of the Council, Chief Gibson was ready to finalize the paperwork with the school, city and townships so the new SRO team can begin in August 2022.
The City has numerous large projects lined up with several beginning during the spring and summer of 2022. The Second Street Bridge work will begin Monday, April 4, 2022 and is anticipated to go through July 15th. The first phase of Streetscape will follow and affect Brady, Locust and Hubbard Streets. The Council reviewed the anticipated expenditures and the revenue sources.
A budget breakdown for the proposed Downtown Streetscape including all of Brady, all of Locust, Hubbard from Walnut to Water, and Sewer Main Relocations assisted members in understanding how the financial burden would be met.
This does not include the Second Street Bridge or the new round about that MDOT plans for the intersection of Marshall, Cedar, Hubbard, and Ely Streets with Jenner (M-40) Drive. The Council received confirmation from Abonmarche that as grant opportunities come available, their grant writers will apply for any funds for which Allegan is eligible.
The Council received the proposed Fee Schedules that will be further discussed during budget meetings in April and the FY22 year-to-date revenue and expenditure report. These are available at City Hall.
The Council Meeting began with Mayor Delora Andrus proclaiming Friday, April 29, 2022 as Arbor Day. Allegan has been recognized as a Tree City USA, and this is the 35th year that a tree will be planted to celebrate. This year a 4” Marmo Maple tree will be planted in Riverfront Park. All are welcome to join the celebration at 10am on April 29th. In addition, City staff will discuss trees with North Ward students as they plant an Eastern Pine seedling.
The Council then brainstormed ways to ensure that handicap parking will be available along Brady Street for the Mahan Park Good Times at the Gazebo concert on Saturday, July 30, 2022 when the K’zoo Folklife Organization’s concert overlaps with Tantrick’s anniversary celebration. The Council believed that the parallel parking slots could be blocked off, and Parker Johnson would review the area with Leah Ward, concert organizer.
City Commissions began with a review of the Riverfront Design Committee’s March meeting. Councilmember Bill Morgan explained that the list of improvements was a basic wish list or blueprint of wants. Items will need to be prioritized for funding.
The Planning Commission had examined the Site Plan Review and Special Use Permit Application for the MRK Development, LLC Marijuana Grow Facility in the Industrial area. Questions were raised by community members including representatives from Perrigo, Co that have plants in the same area. The Commission approved the requests and forward them to the Council. Another priority item was regulating Accessory Dwelling Units, which the Commission sent to the city staff to develop options that the Planning Commission could consider at their next meeting.
The Historic District Commission had reviewed six requests for home improvements and/or window replacements. All were approved except one which had a partial approval and a request for additional information. The Commission directed the City Staff to send letters to 334 Cutler and 403 Marshall Street because of work done without a Certificate of Appropriateness from the Historic District Commission. The decision was made to hold sessions of the Historic District Study Committee after monthly regular meetings.
Financial actions began with approving accounts payable in the amount of $147,607.61 and payroll in the amount of $109,995.18 for a total disbursement of $257,602.79.
Doug Kadzban made 3 requests for approval. First was to approve the purchase of 2 Zero Turn Mowers totaling $18,110.57. Next was to seek a grant from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources to make improvements to enhance Rossman Park – resurface the pickleball courts, add handicap parking slots and add outside games. The grant would pay $112,000 (75%) while the City would pay $37,400 (25%). The third approval was for making repairs to the Skate Park at the entrance to JayCee Park on Monroe Street. The City’s Department of Public Works had made repairs last spring, but by fall, the park required additional attention. The park has a 15-year warranty so the original contractors will pay ½ the repair costs of $60,000 while the City will cover the other half. By making repairs now, the costs will be less than if the City waits another year.
The Marijuana Growing Facility’s request for a Special Use Permit for 845 Industrial Drive by MRK Development, LLC brought representatives from the growers and from Perrigo. Perrigo was not voicing opposition to the facility, but wanted more information from the applicant in regard to minimizing odor, storage and disposal of marijuana and/or chemicals associated with marijuana cultivation, and minimizing any negative impact on the natural environment. This included Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) being released into the air. The discussion brought to the foreground that the class C growing facility would house about 1500 plants and would comply with State requirements. Mayor Andrus shared that some councilmembers had traveled to Bangor to tour the operation there and found that outside the facility, they detected no odors. The only interior room that had a pungent smell was the final stage of growth just before harvesting. In the end, the Council decided to table the request until the applicant could bring additional data and information regarding the process and share this with the Perrigo representatives and councilmembers. It became evident that the measuring of VOCs for organic materials is different from that of chemical materials, and that Michigan’s EGLE currently does not have a monitoring process. The request will be revisited at the April 11th meeting.
On the positive side, the Council approved the use of the Griswold’s Marilla Lounge and entry for a benefit to raise funds for Ukraine Crisis Relief through Global Giving. Brave Art Studios & Gallery and the City of Allegan will partner on this April 30, 2022 event from 5-9pm. More than half of the proceeds will go to supply efforts to care for Ukraine refugees. Brave Art will organize the vendors and entertainment while the City will furnish the venue and organize food trucks.
Also for the Griswold, the Council approved the renting of space to the West Michigan band Rozlan Heart and the Gold Coast for their monthly rehearsals from March 28, 2022 – March 31, 2023 at a flat fee of $50 a session. The only stipulation was that the band inform the City of rehearsal dates and times a month in advance.
Returning to formalities, the Council approved by a 6 to 1 vote the adoption of Resolution 22.13 that would publish a Notice of Intent to purchase bonds if they are needed to complete the many capital improvements around the City of Allegan. The conversation covered how an Intent to Purchase works, and that even though it allowed for purchasing up to an amount that may not exceed $4,500,000, the Council would have to approve each and every bond should that be a path they decided to take.
The final formalities involved the approval of the Resolution 22.14 to adopt the City of Allegan Health and Welfare Benefit Plan and Summary Plan Description and Resolution 22.15 to adopt the City of Allegan Section 125 Premium Only Plan. These approvals should be done ever 5 years after a review of the plans.
The final pieces of information involved the Griswold Auditorium. Utilizing fund s donated to Positively Allegan by Timber Company when they began their operations in Allegan, there will be two May concerts. Friday, May 13, 2022, the Gordon Lightfoot Tribute group will perform. On Friday, May 27th, Asamu Johnson & the Associates of the Blues will take the stage. Tickets can be purchased for $10 a person online at or call the Griswold Box Office on Tuesdays or Thursdays at 269 673-3456.

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