2011-07-21 / News

DDA Projects Nearing Completion for Downtown Street Lights, Landscaping

By Mary Petrides

Fencing has been installed around St. Anthony’s Rock and new downtown streetlights may be put in as early as this week, the St. Ignace Downtown Development Authority (DDA) members learned at their meeting Friday, July 8. An update on the work at Chief Wawatam Park was also given during the meeting.

The DDA approved Cedars of Mackinac Landscaping to do the landscaping for Chief Wawatam Park. The DDA estimated $6,000 for landscaping, and Cedars of Mackinac was the lowest bidder, at $5,950. Landscaping will include adding pea stone and five flowerbeds.

The only other bidder, St. Ignace Greenhouse, bid $6,800.

Future plans for the park include a human sundial, a six-foot likeness of Chief Wawatam, a display of historical items from the Chief Wawatam rail ferry, and a splash pad.

The DDA has purchased lights to be mounted on fences. DDA Director Deb Evashevski said LED fence lights are much less expensive than LED pedestal lights, and vehicles have run into and damaged pedestal lights previously in American Legion Park.

Mrs. Evashevski said she hopes the park will be complete enough to open by the end of July.

The estimated total cost for the park is $278,000, including $33,000 from the DDA.

Installation of the new streetlights may begin as early as this week, Mrs. Evashevski said.

Two streetlight heads were removed to check for a universal bracket that would fit the ballast to the heads, she said, and materials shipped Friday, July 8.

Fifteen of the 93 downtown streetlights are out of order, she said. Instead of paying about $250 each to change the ballasts and fix the 15 streetlights, the DDA will wait and replace them with the rest of the streetlights this week.

The new streetlights, which have a five-year warranty, use less energy and don’t use standard bulbs, saving the city money, Mrs. Evashevski said.

The fence around St. Anthony’s Rock has been completed. The DDA plans to add a fence between the Museum of Ojibwa Culture and the Chamber of Commerce building to keep pedestrians off private property and another fence between the chamber building and Ginger’s Ice Cream.

The DDA received two bids and approved the lowest bidder, Rick Ledy of Moran, to install the fences. Cost is $950. The only other bidder, Benchmark Construction Company, bid $2,870.

The fences will probably be finished within two weeks, Mrs. Evashevski said.

Sales at the museum shop are up significantly from last year, said manager Shirley Sorrels. From January 1 through July 4, 2010, the museum store made $17,691. For the same period this year, the store made $19,328.

The first downtown Fab Friday went well July 1, Mrs. Sorrels said, drawing about 30 people, and museum workers are putting together visitor guides for children.

The museum was not awarded the National Presentation Award grant it was seeking, but competition for the award was tough, she said, and only one is awarded in the country. She said she is hoping for a $1,000 grant to plan next year’s celebration of the building’s 175th anniversary and another grant, up to $15,000, for the actual anniversary project.

Gene Elmer, DDA chairman, said the city is seeking a Michigan Transportation Authority grant for repairs of sinkholes near the lighthouse.

The area has needed repairs three times in the past 11 years and probably won’t need more repairs for another three or four years, he said. But when repairs are needed again, the city hopes to use MTA money for a more permanent solution, he said. Regular repairs cost about $1,000, he said.

The southeast wind pushes gravel out from under the ground near the lighthouse, and parts of the surface begin to sink. The area where this occurs is fenced off and people are not permitted to walk there.

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