City would ‘DIG’ $203,500Published 9:55am Wednesday, December 12, 2012
A $203,500 Downtown Infrastructure Grant (DIG) Dowagiac is applying for encompasses three projects:
• Streetscape improvements at Front and Main streets’ intersection. These include burying electric lines, bettering the street light system and extending green space in the public right-of-way.
• Paving the parking lot at the intersection of Pennsylvania Avenue and Main Street and improving the streetscape.
• Enhancing the streetscape on the Candy Corner property purchased and demolished at 207 W. Division St. A retention wall will be constructed, landscaping added to buffer rear buildings and creation of green space that could be used in the future for public art.
Of the $203,500, the city needs to match 35 percent, or $71,225, which would come from electric utility and capital improvements funds.
Michigan Strategic Fund is accepting grant requests within Downtown Development Authority (DDA) districts using Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds.
Focus of infrastructure improvement projects is to “impact the overall sense of place” with new infrastructure — not repair or maintain existing infrastructure.
Examples cited are walkable, Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accessible, green space, public art and streetscape.
Dowagiac qualifies for CDBG funding based on the city’s 56-percent low- and moderate-income status.
“We’ll know if we’re accepted in February,” City Manager Kevin Anderson said Monday night. “Competition for this money is really great. I expect they’ll have four times the amount of requests than there is money, so we have a 25 percent chance.”
Anderson’s performance review has been completed. Council members granted him a 1.5 percent raise effective Jan. 1, 2013, to his base salary, which was set at $128,396 on Jan. 1, 2011. He became city manager in August 2008.
Council adopted a mission statement the Museum Advisory Committee (MAC) recommended Dec. 5: Dowagiac Area History Museum will educate and inspire residents and visitors about the rich history of the Cass County-Sister Lakes area. The museum will serve as a community cultural center that advances the understanding of local history through exhibits, school tours and public programming.
The MAC also expressed concern that current committee members, while they live in Southwestern Michigan College boundaries, none reside within city limits, so the nine- to 15-member panel will be expanded by two. Members serve three-year terms.
One will be earmarked for a council liaison, the other an appointed city resident.
MAC’s role is to study, investigate and advise Museum Director Steve Arseneau and the council on general operations and activities. It serves as Arseneau’s “sounding board” on scheduled events and long-range planning.
Similar to the Cass County Board of Commissioners Dec. 6, the council is gearing up to participate in the five-member local revenue sharing board called for in the Pokagon Band’s compact with the state for its third casino, Four Winds Dowagiac, opening next summer.
“Dowagiac is specifically listed as an entity to serve,” Anderson said. “It’s not required. Mayor Lyons and I attended a couple of meetings. The first step is a letter of intent so they can include us in intergovernmental agreements. Once those are in place, we’ll make appointments to that board. It will probably take six to eight months.”
Council approved the Department of Public Services renewal of a three-year agreement with Power Line Supply Co. through 2016 for a vendor-managed inventory system to reduce processing costs while supplying its workforce with materials needed for jobs.
The city manages nearly $400,000 worth of inventory within its utilities annually.
“We’ve been able to reduce our labor costs and will continue to do so,” Anderson said. “They provide software and tracking system that electronically tells us when we’re getting low on supplies.”
Tags: Dowagiac City Council