Although the majority of the audience at Monday’s Saline City Council meeting were there to observe deliberations on the fate of 600 N. Maple, many other issues were dealt with. It included the first work session on the budget, a presentation, a proclamation, zoning changes, road improvement plans and issues related to local industries.
MMI Engineered Solutions is proposing a large addition to their current structure at 1715 Woodland Drive. One problem is that city ordinance stipulates a maximum building footprint of 30 percent of the property and the addition would increase that footprint to 41 percent.
As a partial solution to the problem, City Council approved the sale of a one acre piece of city-owned property adjacent to (north of) MMI. The purchase of the property would reduce the footprint to 36 percent. This would allow for approval of a lesser variance.
The property being sold is considered unbuildable and has a gas main easement running through it. Because of this, City Assessor Catherine Scull agreed to decrease the price to $7,000.
D & G Building Company owns the land on which MMI is located and having gained council approval will make the additional purchase from the city.
MMI has ambitious plans. They intend to build a 50,000 sq. ft. addition at a cost of about $3 million. In addition they are planning about $2.5 million in improvements.
“We made a commitment to MEDC [Michigan Economic Development Corporation] to add 47 new jobs over the next three years,” said Paul Larson of MMI.
Larson said that the overall project will add well over a million payroll dollars to the region. Most of the new space would be for a distribution center with some area dedicated to parts assembly.
In a win-win scenario, Liebherr Aerospace is granting the city a 20 foot wide easement across its property between Maple Road and Woodland Drive to build a 12 inch water main. The line would meet Liebherr’s water needs and complete the city’s system grid in the northeast quadrant of the city. Naturally, Council approved the easement.
Council Applies to Feds for Fund Rebuild Monroe Street Bridge
Council approved making an application to the State of Michigan and Federal Bridge Program for financial assistance in rebuilding the bridge over Monroe Street. This bridge is one of three within the city limits. Recent inspections show minor deterioration of the 32-year-old structure.
The bridge upgrade would include box beam repairs and a new concrete deck, replacing the existing asphalt deck. There will also be pedestrian improvements and guard rails. Councilwoman Linda TerHaar commented that proactively doing repairs before a failure is good public policy.
If the petition is successful, the city will only need to pay 10 percent of the estimated $600,000 total cost. The city will also pay for design expenses, estimated at $34,000.
Construction Planned for Austin Road, Old Creek Drive
The city will also proceed with design and reconstruction of a portion of Austin Road and Old Creek Drive. An MDOT STPU (Surface Transportation Program-Urban) grant will pay up to $400,000 for the project.
Five bids were received for a design/construct professional services agreement. City staff selected and Council approved the one from Fleis and Vandenbrink. The plan will include addition of bike lanes where feasible.
John Olsen, Director of the Saline Chamber of Commerce, announced the upcoming 2016 Saline Salutes Awards Ceremony, to be held at the Saline Senior Center on April 22 at 5:30 p.m. Recipients will include Tim Driscoll, Wendy Beardsley, Dave Ringe, youth Aidan Carichner and Wayne Clements.
Clements, who did so much for preserving the history of Saline, passed away late last year. His daughter will receive the posthumous Lifetime Achievement Award. Olsen said he was amazed to find that Clements hadn’t won it previously.
Chief Hrinik Report
Police Chief Larry Hrinik gave an update on the Saline Police Department. Hrinik noted that the department is using Police One for on-line training and is looking into programs at Washtenaw Community College and Sothern Michigan Criminal Justice Training Consortium for live training.
“I am very pleased to report that a new schedule has been developed and implemented and some manpower reallocation, which allows for a sergeant, two officers and a dispatcher to be assigned on each shift,” Hrinik said.
Pave It Forward
Riley Hollenbaugh gave a summary of the activities of Saline Main Street. He announced that the slogan and logo for the Michigan Avenue rebuild will be “Pave it forward.”
“We’re going to make it really fun to come downtown,” Hollenbaugh said.
Poppy Days May 20-21
Mayor Brian Marl declared May 20 and 21 as “Poppy Days” in the City of Saline. During this time, members of the Saline American Legion will be on the streets passing out poppies for a donation. The annual event celebrates all who are or were on active duty in the American armed forces.
The next City Council meeting will be on Monday, April 18 with a budget work meeting starting at 6 p.m. and the regular meeting at 7:30 p.m.