By Rosemary K. Otzman
The deteriorating wood playscape at Village Park, in front of Victoria Commons subdivision, will be replaced with a new, handicapped-accessible playscape next year, with the use of federal funds.
Belleville City Manager Diana Kollmeyer said city officials were at a recent meeting on use of Community Development Block Grant funds and Bryce Kelley suggested transferring their 2012 CDBG funds to use for a playscape. There is $34,080 in that account and it should pay for the needed play equipment.
Kelley at one time was head of the Planning and Economic Development Department at Van Buren Township. Now he works for Wayne County.
At the Nov. 17 meeting of the Belleville City Council a public hearing was held and then the city unanimously voted to approve the fund transfer.
Kollmeyer said the $34,080 will pay for a base playscape and the administration may come back to transfer other CDBG funds for additional pieces of play equipment.
She said the project will be done and the money expended by next August.
DPW Director Keith Tackett said the present playscape was getting so deteriorated that he wanted to tear it down in the spring anyway.
“Only so many sidewalks can be built,” said Councilman Tom Fielder, referring to restrictions on what the CDBG funds can be used for.
Councilwoman Kim Tindall reminded everyone that this is a city park for everyone to use.
Kollmeyer said that because of the vandalism in that park, the administration feels the more items they put in the park the more people will come and the people will automatically help patrol the park.
In other business at Monday’s meeting, the council:
• Heard a 45-minute proposal by a family from Harbour Pointe subdivision who did not introduce themselves. The family wants the council to rescind Parking Order 14-3, which allows parking on only one side of the subdivision streets to provide space for emergency vehicles. The order will not be enforced for 90 days. The family’s main complaint was that wider streets will lead to more speeding which would endanger their children. The group also spoke at length at the last city council meeting;
• Approved the BYC’s request to put up an ice rink in the Fourth Street Square for Winter Fest, Dec. 5, 6 and 7. It will be open 3-9 p.m. on Friday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday. Ted Mull of BYC asked if they could move the artwork at the back of square to keep it safe and he was referred to Carol Thompson of the Belleville Downtown Development Authority who was in charge of the artworks. They propose to relocate the sculpture temporarily by moving it with a forklift;
• Announced the 2014 Holiday Decorating Contest for residences and businesses in the city. People are asked to have their lights on from 6 to 10 p.m. on Dec. 10 and 11. Awards will be presented in five categories. The contest is sponsored by the City of Belleville and the Belleville-Area Independent;
• Approved a one-time $1,000 stipend for the seven full-time employees represented by the Government Employee Labor Council for clerks and DPW. The GELC had a wage reopener for the final year of the contract and agreed to accept the stipend. Their last raise was in 2006;
• Approved accounts payable of $252,790.91 and departmental purchases in excess of $500: to Allie Brothers, new officer police uniforms, $1,021.25; to DEQ, $1,227.99 community fee; to Priority One Emergency, equipment for new police car equipment, $9,141; and to Wayne County, prisoner lodging, $3,500;
• Presented awards to four contest winners in the seventh-annual Scarecrow Contest; and
• Learned the leaf pickup will resume when the city truck is done being a salt truck. The sudden winter weather and icy roadways changed the focus of the DPW.
Mayor Pro Tem Jack Loria presided at the meeting in the absence of Mayor Kerreen Conley.
By Rosemary K. Otzman