The Belleville Downtown Development Authority is moving forward with plans for wayfinding signs to help visitors get around the city.
At its Oct. 17 meeting, the DDA voted unanimously to pay Spicer Group $9,500 for the design phase of new signs that would take the project up to the bidding stage, with a complete set of construction drawings.
DDA members Tom Fielder and Rosemary Loria volunteered to work with Spicer as the sign design and placement is worked out.
“You can’t get lost in Belleville,” said DDA treasurer Sabrina Richardson-Williams, who said she was thinking of voting against the project.
“Yes, you can,” said chairman John Hoops, noting the railroad was closed that week and people were lost.
“This project has to happen sooner or later,” said City Manager Diane Kollmeyer, who added that people come into City Hall regularly for directions.
“It’s a confusing little town,” she added.
DDA members noted that Main Street, starts out as Belleville Road, turns into Main Street, hits Five Points, then becomes South Street, before coming out as Sumpter Road heading south, which is confusing in itself.
DDA administrative coordinator Carol Thompson gave a long list of destinations she gets calls on as people look for directions, including the high school, middle school, Horizon Park, and Victory Station.
Planning Commission chairman Steve Jones noted from the audience that the street sign for High Street at Main has been gone for some time and when you tell newcomers to turn at High Street, they can’t find it.
The money allocated by the DDA does not cover the construction costs, which will be another $15,000 or so according to an estimate by DDA member Gary Snarski, which Spicer engineer Dave Vallier agreed with.
On another project, the DDA also voted to pay Spicer $2,000 to research a grant to build structures along the Horizon Park shoreline that could include making the existing dock usable, with a possible floating pier; extending the fishing pier; and installing a pavilion in the water.
Vallier said they need to check with the DEQ about what’s allowable and how far
they can go out into the lake, along with regulations from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) which has a say-so because of the French Landing Dam on the lake.
When Thompson was asked if the DDA could afford all these new payments to Spicer, Thompson said the fund balance had $1.47 million and $570,000 is set aside to pay bonds, so there is $900,000 left in the fund balance.
Vallier said Spicer should have information on the possibility of a grant by the early part of next year.
A DNR recreation grant application deadline is April 1, 2013 for 2014 grants.
Spicer provided handouts showing how it has recently assisted municipal clients throughout Michigan with $1,656,700 in grant funding for recreation projects.
Also at the beginning of the meeting, resident Ruth Bleeker asked the DDA to put up a lighted Christmas tree in an island at Five Points. She was told that area is owned by Wayne County and that the city council would have to deal with her request.