Since our last council meeting, city staff has been actively working with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) to update our discharge permit application. As has been noted in past council meetings, this update will become three permits in one, giving the City flexibility in determining which way to move forward with our upgrade capacity. This is a unique situation for a West Michigan community and the MDEQ, so both parties are learning as we go. City staff and the MDEQ are taking things step-by-step to ensure things are done correctly.
The three permits will include: COW Water diversion (for which the new pump station was designed), a dual treatment track taking advantage of both the mechanical plant and the former activated sludge system, and/or expansion of the mechanical plant with the addition of an additional clarifier.
Water Project Phase I
I stated in the last memo that we would have something for council in terms of information on bonding. That information is more likely to be available at our July 25 meeting. Other than that update, there is not much to report in terms of new information except we’re still moving forward.
Prein&Newhof continues the process of designing the upgrade to the 60th Avenue Booster station, as you already know because you approve this expenditure on a regular basis. Please contact me if you have questions or would like to provide comments.
Briefly, progress continues on adding and upgrading signage around the city and around city owned property. The DPW crew has installed the new sign at the Randall Street Lift Station. It looks great! On Garfield heading west from 48th Avenue to the WWTP, there is a new solar powered LED lighted sign (Hidden Drive) to alert drivers that there is a drive-way that could have vehicles exiting as they speed over the hill. Our goal was to attempt to make that stretch of road safer for city employees as they exit the WWTP as well as drivers on Garfield.
Downtown Pocket Park
Jan Richardson informed me that she had a question from a business owner in Coopersville who was questioning the wisdom of the Pocket Park and more importantly, the cost. He said that there were a number of people that didn’t think the park was necessary. My reply to her is provided below. The reason I’m including the information is to assist others in understanding the reasoning and the logic for this investment, and it is an investment. Please contact me if you wish to discuss further.
The DDA has already spent millions of dollars in the downtown area to improve the north parking lot area. The DDA extended Main Street to 64th Avenue. The DDA replaced and extended water and sewer to improve infrastructure so future development/investment in the downtown could occur. Monetary grants in the amount of thousands of dollars were paid to property owners on Main Street to improve their facades in the hope more customers would want to enter their businesses. Many people objected to these expenditures because other projects needed funding. But what happened? More people visit downtown than ever, so something is working. Visitors to Coopersville routinely comment on how quaint and beautiful our downtown is and they wish they had one. Allendale, Hudsonville, Rockford and others are have commented positively on what we have.
The goal of the DDA is to revitalize the downtown so that it becomes a destination for residents and visitors alike. The Pocket Park will be another element to bring people downtown. Its uniqueness will draw future customers to Main Street. The Pocket Park will bring life, shade, and character to a bald asphalt car lot that currently is an eyesore to the downtown. Is the Pocket Park going to cost some money? Yes. Is it a significant amount? Yes. But what amount is too much? What amount is not enough for a project that helps bring more awareness to our historic downtown and provides a “sense of place” and a place where individuals and families can meet and share another experience in Coopersville?
With the train bringing in tens of thousands of riders a year, the Pocket Park will become a focal point for them as they wait for a train ride. Without a doubt, they will share with others their experience on the train and how cute and unique Coopersville’s Pocket Park is and how they wish their own city, village, or township could have one.
Change and growth is difficult, it simply is. But without change and growth a community will eventually die or become less than desirable. Less than desirable leads to store vacancies and the economic dominos will fall, leaving downtown dusty and unattractive.