2009-12-24 / Front Page

Mackinaw City Road Work Planned

By Michael Ayala

Road projects on M-108 and East Central Avenue will make travel easier for Mackinaw City residents and visitors, while the village will obtain a portion of M- 108 following completion of the work. The Mackinaw City Village Council agreed upon this and also approved the site plan for a building that will replace the Dippin' Dots Ice Cream building on the corner of North Huron Avenue and Crossings Drive, and discussed the details of an open meetings act training session Thursday, December 17.

The council passed a resolution to sign a contract with the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) for the work on M-108. The work is an MDOT project, Manager Jeff Lawson said, and is completely paid for by the state. Once the work has completed, the road between the UpNorth Dining by the Bridge Restaurant by exit 338 and the Citgo Station will be turned over to the village, except for the US-23 intersection. At that time, he said, the village will be responsible for maintaining that stretch of M-108.

Mr. Lawson said the stretch is too small to meet federal guidelines to be considered a highway, which led to MDOT turning it over to the village after reconstructing it. The portion of the road will be called "Nicolet Street" rather than M-108, he said. The project will begin in spring 2010 and is expected to be complete by August.

The village will also resurface East Central Avenue, with most of the costs covered by a $334,100 grant from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The village will have to pay the remainder of the costs, which can be up to $60,000 Mr. Lawson said. The target date for beginning the road project is in spring, with the road planned for use for the Memorial Day parade May 31. Mr. Lawson hopes to have it fully completed by the end of June. Residents will be able to drive along the road throughout the construction, although sides will be shut down intermittently as they are repaved.

Council Approves Site Plan

The council approved a site plan for the Lieghio family to replace the Dippin' Dots building with one that will contain retail space and office space. The office space would only be used for the operation of the retail areas, Mr. Lawson said, and could not be leased for other purposes.

The Lieghio family originally wanted to add a zip line cable ride and rock climbing wall to the building, but removed both of those proposals when the Mackinaw City Planning Commission ran into complications regarding an open air business ordinance. The ordinance required open air businesses to be fenced in to prevent trash from blowing into surrounding areas, but were unsure as to how it would apply to a zip line. The family decided to remove the rock wall and zip line from the plans and focus on constructing the building.

Mr. Lawson said the planning commission will decide during its next meeting if it wants to review the ordinance and explore altering the language.

Council To Receive Open Meetings Act Training From

Michigan Municipal League

The village government will receive a training seminar on the Open meetings Act from the Michigan Municipal League. Mr. Lawson said the program is available on Fridays during January, and will cost $300 and travel expenses. While the league will provide the training, specific legal questions will be referred to the village attorney.

The training was spurred by the influx of three new council members, as well as questions other village officials, such as the planning commission, had regarding the act, Mr. Lawson told The St. Ignace News in November. A training date will be set later.

Citizens have a right to know what the government does by opening to public view the processes by which elected and non-elected officials make decisions on citizens' behalf. This right is protected by the Open Meetings Act and Freedom of Information Act. The decisions, and deliberation toward those decisions, of elected officials are made in meetings that are open to the public under the Open Meetings Act. Notice of public meetings must be posted publicly at least 18 hours prior to the meeting.

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