BENJAMIN J. GOHS, EDITOR
The community garden, Avalanche bike trails, cemetery maintenance, city projects and more topped public comments and the city manager’s report during the Boyne City Commission’s last meeting.
Here are the highlights of those portions of the Tuesday Aug. 9 meeting. Look for coverage of the city’s Tuesday Aug. 23 meeting in next week’s Boyne City Gazette.
• Sidewalk & Cemetery
During the Boyne City Commission meeting, several members of the public opined on an array of topics.
Boyne City resident John Clements spoke to the Boyne City Commission regarding a new sidewalk and issues at the Wilson Cemetery off Division Street.
“First thing I want to do is thank you for the sidewalk,” said Clements. “They’re pouring concrete today and it’s gonna be nice.”
Clements said he did some cleanup at the old cemetery, washing the headstones and other maintenance when he discovered some of the stones had fallen over.
“A couple strong guys can go down there and set them back up,” he said.
Clements also asked the commission about the lack of an American flag at the cemetery.
“I went to the VFW and asked them and they said it was the city’s responsibility to put a flag up,” he said. “Of course, the pole is there and everything but the flag is not.”
Clements said there is also some brush that needs to be removed near the cemetery.
• Community Garden
John Wood discussed his concerns relating to the Boyne City Community Garden.
Wood said whitetail deer seem to be causing quite a bit of damage to plants in the garden.
“This is my third year in the garden, and I want to thank you as a commission and the city for providing that asset. I think it’s wonderful,” said Wood, who estimated the garden to have around 40 or so individual garden plots.
Though he is not the spokesman for the group, Wood said he feels some fencing should be installed to prevent animals from destroying crops.
“Some of these gardens this year are beautiful,” said Wood…. “Some of them … did not put a high fence in and the deer have decimated. I mean they have eaten things I did not think they would eat. They have taken green beans completely down, tomatoes down, pickles off the vines and now they’re working on the Brussels sprouts.”
He added, “The only thing that’s going to solve it is a fence all the way around it.”
Wood said a fence maybe seven feet high would be sufficient. He said expecting people to put individual fences in the garden around their own gardens is not feasible.
“In doing that, with individual fences, it looks like Flag City,” he said. “I mean, we should be able to look through there and see a garden and not, you know, rings of different colored flags.”
Wood said he isn’t sure why the colored flags are used because he does not believe they are deterring the deer whatsoever.
Wood suggested the city charge a fee to cover costs for fences and other things necessary to the garden.
• Bike Trails
Michelle Cortright spoke for the Top of Michigan Mountain Bike Association (TOMMBA) regarding the proposed Avalanche Preserve bike trail project.
Cortright said the group has met their fundraising goal of $50,000, which earns them a $50,000 matching grant from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC.)
“[W]e have additional donations as well,” she said. “We’re over the $100,000 and we will be able to build two of the trails this fall with that money.”
A company called “Dirt Artisans” will spend roughly six weeks, beginning in the middle of September, working on the trail system.
“And, we’re into the second phase of the fundraising now—we have another $100,000 to raise for the rest of the trails,” said Cortright, who added that the group is working on some other potential grant opportunities to help fund the project.
“The rest of the trail will probably go in in the spring unless we surprise ourselves and get the rest of it (funding) this fall,” she said.
The group will be working on some signage which will show what people can expect while the work is underway.
Cortright also showed commissioners the signs which will be going up to mark the entrance of Evangeline Township.
“I just thought, as a neighbor, you’d be interested in seeing them,” she said.
• Vets Park Pavilion
Charlevoix resident Tim Petrosky, of Consumers Energy, gave the commission a $5,000 donation toward the Boyne City Veteran’s Park Pavilion improvement project.
“I’m here tonight to deliver something that’s long overdue,” he said…. “These projects are the type of projects that our community foundation loves to support—something that is building on civic community economic development.”
• Manager’s Report
Boyne City Manager Michael Cain gave commissioners his bimonthly report following the public comment portion of the meeting.
Items of interest included updates on various projects around the city.
“The steel has started to go up across the street on our city facility, and walls are not far behind,” said Cain. “And, everything is remaining on schedule.”
Cain said the new portion of the Safe Routes To School sidewalk was being installed recently.
“We have a lot more to do and we anticipate that the majority of it will be completed, and hopefully all of the walkways, prior to school beginning on Sept. 6,” he said.
The first phase of the Boyne City to US-31 non-motorized trail, which is now open for use, will be officially opened with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 11 a.m. on Thursday Sept. 1, at the entrance of Young State Park.
“As the trail comes into town, since we don’t have any sidewalks to receive it at Michigan, we’re working on some alternate routes that they can use if they wish to take lower volume access until we get some walkways installed at that area,” said Cain.
According to Cain, bids for the second phase of the Boyne City to US-31 trail, coming east from US-31, are hoped to be received by early September.
But, he added, that timeline is dependent upon MDOT’s bidding schedule.
Despite the high temperatures and increased water usage in recent weeks, Cain said the Boyne City Water Department reports that its systems are operating well.
“We’re pumping a typical average these last few days of 1.17 million gallons-a-day, and that compares to about 600,000 (gallons) during the off-season,” he said, adding that the figure is up from 1.15 million gallons pumped each day last year.
Cain then addressed the issue of bird waste in some local parks.
“After a significant number of increased complaints about geese and their droppings in some of our waterfront parks, we had a discussion in the office and Barb (Brooks, Boyne City Harbormaster) mentioned that she was aware of a product that East Jordan was using reportedly with some success,” said Cain.
Boyne City officials are trying the food-based product in several areas to see if it works.
“We’ve tried many different products,” said Cain… “and we’ll see how this one works for us.”