BY BENJAMIN J. GOHS, NEWS EDITOR
The state of the toxic playground, road bids, assessing services and the Dilworth Hotel topped last week’s regular Boyne City Commission meeting on Tuesday Sept. 8.
Boyne City Manager Michael Cain began with his usual bi-monthly report on city business.
“We have had 12 people sign up to have connection stubs to the force main installed at their properties,” said Cain. “Of these, 11 were city property owners and one a property owner in the township.”
Cain said the Sommerset Pointe to Boyne City sewer project joins the DPW facilities, Court Street and Boyne City Business Park construction projects, which continue to make good progress.
“Two of the three projects, plus the one I’ll mention in a second, here, will help make dealing with the weather events like what we’ve been having today less of an issue for the community in the future,” said Cain.
He added, “On Division Street, since our last meeting, the storm sewer water main north of the road running between Grant and Park streets has been restored and put back into service. Quotes for the boring work to connect this main to the pond area southeast of Park View Apartments’ entrance are due tomorrow (Wednesday Sept. 9).”
Cain said the city has also been discussing with neighbors west of Park View Apartments possible ways to resolve long-standing storm water issues in their area as well.
One Water street update
Also on the private side, Cain said, Catt Development began rebuilding its parking and drive areas behind the One Water Street building that contains Cafe Sante. This will be to service the new residential areas that have been built back there over the past two summers.
“Since our last meeting, we have had several, what I would describe as productive, meetings and discussions on the distributed antenna system proposed by ACD,” said Cain, adding that he hopes to have more details to report to the commission at its next meeting. “Related to this, we have had agents for Verizon continue to look for sites in or near the downtown to place a hundred-twenty-foot-or-so cell tower.”
Farmers market wine booths
“As allowed by sate law, the farmers market will soon be allowing up to two booths to be used for craft wine, and cider sampling and sales,” said Cain. “We have also checked with our insurance company and they see no problem with this.”
Cain said many of the members of the market were polled and they approved of trying out the new type of booths by a vote of 28 to 6.
A dozen students from Michigan State University’s school of planning, design and construction visited Boyne City last week as part of a class project that will eventually make recommendations to the city pertaining to its waterfront.
This project is not tied to the Boyne on the Water project currently underway but the class will parallel some similar issues and areas.
The students will be working on the Boyne City project for the next few months. There is no obligation nor cost to the city.
City facilities update
“This week, as part of the city facilities project, we will be meeting with clock experts to really start looking in-depth as to what our options may be with regards to the reuse of the old city clock as part of that project and proposed clock tower,” said Cain.
Tree planting grant
Boyne City received a $4,000 tree planting grant from DTE Energy.
Assessing services renewal
Three years ago, Boyne City stopped using Charlevoix County as its assessing service. Since then, the city has had an agreement with the cities of East Jordan and Charlevoix to contract with DC Assessing of Traverse City. According to Cain, since hiring DC Assessing, the quality and detail of the city’s assessing records has increased significantly and only continues to improve. The city commission voted unanimously to renew DC’s contract for three more years at a cost of $55,100 per year.
Road maintenance bids
Bids were advertised in August for this year’s pavement maintenance project.
Bids from Payne and Dolan of Gaylord, and Rieth-Riley of Charlevoix were received. The city chose to go with Rieth-Riley at a cost of $299,860
City officials said an MEDC $1,000,000 Community Development Block Grant has been preliminarily approved.
In order for Boyne City to submit a formal application for the $1 million grant, an environmental review of the project is required by state and federal regulation.
“We’re very pleased and excited about this one-million-dollar grant,” said Cain. “We think, on a competitive basis, competing across the state, this project is scored very well.”
He added, “Is it everything that we would have hoped for? No. But, given the realities of the circumstances that are out there, Boyne City did exceptionally well.”
Before the review can occur, a city official must be designated as Certifying and Environmental Review Officer for the environmental review.
Cain was proposed to fill that position.
The motion was unanimously approved.
Cain said a complete assessment will be necessary to determine potential water, air or noise issues, and any other type of environmental issue which could arise from such a project to ensure it will not cause problems in the community.
According to city officials, the Dilworth Hotel renovation project requires significant private and public investment for what will be a boutique hotel with 26 rooms, a restaurant, a banquet room and pub.
During the “good of the order” portion of the city commission meeting—wherein commissioners discuss issues not listed on the agenda—a question arose relating to the toxic playground in Boyne City’s Veterans Park.
“Have we had any citizen volunteers come forward that want to move the children’s playground project or the replacing of it; getting a committee going?” Boyne City Mayor Ron Grunch asked Boyne City Superintendent of Public Works Andy Kovolski.
Kovolski said there have been no citizen volunteers who have spoken to him concerning the matter.
“Have we done any advertising or any marketing of it or any requests for people or creating an awareness?” Grunch said. “That’s how it was built in the first place.”
He added, “We really can’t let that lay very long because the park is dead without children in it. So, I’d really like to see something done.”
Kovolski said he has been working with Scott MacKenzie to get a list of people together who may wish to work on the project.
Grunch said it has been numerous weeks since the issue of toxins around the playground originally arose, and said he would like to see something done about it sooner rather than later.