These Policy Board meetings provide a number of valuable insights to drug issues facing West Michigan as well as the scope of drug use itself. After every meeting, I leave with a heavy emotional weight due to the tragedy that Heroin, Fentanyl, Meth, Cocaine, Crack, and other countless drugs and variation of drugs that affects individuals and their families every single day. It saddens me to learn that the potential of many people to lead successful and prosperous lives is taken away from them because they have chosen to place these poisons in their bodies. They are now captives of the drugs that once made them feel euphoric and “free.” It is also, literally, a death sentence for many.
There was a time, and not that many years ago, I believed Federal, State, and local governments were spending too money and manhours to fight this battle. It appeared to me that the cost-benefit of the investment wasn’t yielding significant results. I believed drug use was a personal choice and the choice didn’t affect me. I’ve changed my perspective though, because it isn’t solely the resources we’re spending to fight the battle on drugs. It is the loss of productive lives of our own citizens and neighbors. It is the loss of building families, starting new businesses, volunteering in our communities, future scientists and teachers building dreams, and most of all the ever-present lost opportunities both individually and collectively.
I write these words today not as commentary on our war on drugs, but as a vivid reminder that our battle on drugs and those that promote it, is here in West Michigan. It is here in Coopersville. Our Emergency Wards in local hospitals around the region are seeing more and more heroin overdoses, the increased use of Fentanyl, and the overuse of opioids. Our community and family members are being killed by bad decisions and by drugs. If we don’t find a means to combat this increasing specter, we as a country and community will lose our spirit and the possibility for a promising and fulfilling future.
This memo is not expressing anything new concerning drugs and their negative impact. What this memo is though, is a gentle reminder that here in West Michigan, WEMET, the various Sheriffs’ Offices, and local law enforcement are fighting a battle here at home. It is real, it is serious business, and it is our responsibility in whatever fashion we can devise to reduce the demand for the very substances that will be the eventual ruin of “us.” We must acknowledge this reality.
Monday night, we have a full agenda. Andy Campbell from Umbaugh and Ian Koffler from Miller Canfield will present the Wastewater Treatment System Bond Refinance Ordinance and Resolution and be available for questions. We will also have a Public Hearing and Ordinance Amendment for the Zoning Board of Appeals. Enclosed in Council info is an East Gateway Preliminary Site Plan for your review. Please review this packet and contact me for whatever reason - questions, not understanding how I described an event, or an agenda item. Try and survive more snow in the forecast and if you must hit the roads, be SAFE out there. See you all Monday night.
Tickets are on sale now: Celebrate Coopersville 2018
Celebrate Coopersville will be taking place this year on March 22, 2018, at the West Michigan Plumbers, Fitters, and Service Trades Union Hall at 1008 O’Malley Drive. We’ve sold out the last two years in a row – don’t wait to RSVP. Get tickets now for this stellar event to honor the hard-working city staff and deserving volunteers of our great city. Pay online by visiting http://tinyurl.com/CelebrateCoops2018 or Reserve by email by contacting Sgt. Dennis Luce: firstname.lastname@example.org and send a check payable to “Coopersville Rotary Club.” Mail or drop off to Attn: Sgt. Luce/Celebrate Coopersville, 289 Danforth Street, Coopersville, MI 49404.
Regional Forcemain – Muskegon Option
Enclosed in Council Info is a “Frequently Asked Questions” information sheet as provided by Muskegon County and Prein&Newhof. There have been many questions asked about this possible project from the public and of course there is the usually misinformation and resulting rumors that are circulating the region. Please review and if you have further questions, I strongly urge you to contact me to have a discussion or provide clarification.
East Gateway (48th Avenue & I-96)
For the first time in many years, the city is reviewing a plat application. This relates to the East Gateway area of the city along 48th Street. Enclosed with the packet is a preliminary sketch plat submitted by the property owner for how they see the area developing. This plat is consistent with the 2017 Master Plan and it is proposed for a mix of light industrial and commercial uses.
On Monday, Feb. 19 the Planning Commission will review the preliminary plat during a public hearing and at the March City Council meeting, Council will also have the opportunity to formally weigh in as this will be an action/discussion item at that meeting.
The plat process is a rather lengthy one and the plat will be looked at several times by the Planning Commission and Council. Planning Director Jonathan Seyferth will be at our meeting Monday night and can answer any questions you might have.
Water Project – Phase I
There is momentum on this project. However, that momentum is in the form of defining the scope of the project in terms of how to integrate respective assets of Allendale Township and Polkton Township with the City of Coopersville. Pat Staskiewicz from the Ottawa County Road Commission–Utilities has been instrumental in drafting a proposal that delves into the details of how the upgrade will be paid by the respective units of government and whom owns what and what percentage. I know this sounds a bit awkward, but it will make more sense when it comes before Council hopefully before May of this year. Please feel free to contact me in whatever manner is best for you for additional information.
Waste Water Treatment Plant Upgrade
The MDEQ has approved the plans for the WWTP upgrades as well as issuing the permits. The proposed timeline is as follows for the execution and completion of this project.
Proposed project schedule
Advertise for bid: January 31, 2018 - 4 weeks of bid time
Bid opening: February 27, 2018 at 10:00 am at City Hall
Council Award: March 12, 2018
Execution of contract: Approx. March 30, 2018
Construction: April to September 28, 2018
Substantial Completion: September 28, 2018
Final Completion: October 5, 2018
REPEAT: Snow Plowing and Salt
The staff and I have been asked on a number of occasions about what our snow plowing policy will be. The answer is simple. We are going to continue with what was done last year both in plowing and the laying down of salt. Our goal is not to make the roads 100% clear and dry of snow and ice since this is winter in Michigan after all. We will salt the major intersections and roads as conditions dictate. The Sheriff’s Department will notify the personnel on call if road conditions deteriorate during the night. Major roads are done first then local roads. Priority is given to roads leading to the school in the morning.
The city, as in other years, is following the Ottawa County Road Commission in its use of salt. Salt will be mixed with sand to reduce its introduction to the environment and to also save money for the city and the taxpayers. Obviously, if there are severe conditions safety will always be a priority and we will do whatever is necessary. The best information drivers can be given of course is to slow down and be cautious at intersections and stop signs. Please call if you have further questions.
Obviously, there are other projects and issues I’m involved with as is Jonathan Seyferth and others. It’s not always a wise decision to write about the status of these projects and issues when there are delicate, complicated, or confidentiality aspects still in motion. I will always be available to answer any of your questions to the best of my ability within the confines of the aspects just mentioned. There is certainly never a dull day in the bustling and thriving environment of Coopersville.