By Rosemary K. Otzman
At the March 19 meeting of the Belleville Downtown Development Authority, Mayor Kerreen Conley gave a report on the March 13 Soup Project at Belleville High School that the DDA sponsored.
She said four groups of students from the NewTech program, working for extra credit, gave presentations on events that could be put on to bring people of all ages to Belleville.
About 100 members of the community ate a soup dinner together and then voted on the projects so they could present a $500 prize. The winner was the Belleville Zombie 5K that will be coordinated with the DDA’s B’ooVille event in October.
The winning Zombie 5K was presented by students Marissa Higgins and Brittany Jones.
Other projects were Belleville on the Lake, which included fishing, waterfront activities, and kayak events; Main Street Olympics, which included a three-legged race and other family activities; and a Belleville Battle of the Bands, which planned for 12 bands.
Mayor Conley said health and fitness were incorporated in the activities and only six votes separated the winner from the lowest vote.
She said Angel Food and Catering, a local business, provided the food and a $100 donation to the project.
Mayor Conley said DDA Coordinator Carol Thompson conducted a telephone interview for a news story on the event.
Mayor Conley urged members of the DDA to start training for the 5K race.
“I think it’d be fun if everyone participated,” she said, adding it will start at 5 p.m., so it will be darker outside for the race.
The Belleville Central Business Community (CBC) has reserved the Fourth Street Square for Oct. 24 and is planning to put up a tent for beer, food, and scary movies. It is seeking a license through the Liquor Control Commission for the beer at the event, which will be co-hosted by the Belleville Area Chamber of Commerce.
The CBC also is seeking to obtain the rights to the B’ooVille name through the State of Michigan.
In other business at the 35-minute meeting on March 19, the DDA:
• Heard Museum Director Katie Dallos explain how the museum spent last year’s $1,000 grant from the DDA on events at the museum and thank them for the funds. She said the museum now is using an updated logo and brand: BAM. Dallos said the museum is considering having a Haunted Museum event. The idea formed after seeing a 1970s picture of the jail in the museum basement being used as a Haunted Basement. She said the treasures of the tri-community are on display at the museum and the museum is the area’s cultural center;
• Heard DDA Treasurer Sabrina Richardson Williams report that the six outdoor sculptures have been chosen and they are expected to be installed around the DDA district in early May. Thompson said the committee looked at 380 slides of sculptures, which is “a lot of art.” Williams agreed that there are so many opportunities that she hopes they can do it next year, too;
• Learned a review committee for the Façade Program is being set up and it will be made up of two DDA members and one member from the planning commission. DDA member Rosemary Loria, who was not present, has volunteered to serve and DDA chairman John Hoops said he was willing to serve, as well;
• Heard Mayor Conley report on changes to the staff for the city’s DPW since the retirement of DPW Director Keith Boc. She said Keith Tackett will be taking over many of the DPW administration responsibilities and Rick Rutherford has been named Building Official. Thompson said the banners on the light poles will be changed from snowflakes to flowers shortly;
• Heard Mayor Conley report she has taken down the ornaments from the Christmas tree by the bridge, as far as she can reach, and Snider Electric will take down the lights on the tree since the snow has stopped falling and they can get closer to the tree now;
• Heard Thompson report that they are working at getting the lights back on on the light poles. They are considering using Evans Electric or just doing it in-house. The warranteed parts that are bad are being sent back to be replaced and there are no replacements on site. The ballasts are the parts that are being replaced, Thompson said;
• Heard Thompson report that they have extended the flower planting and tending work this summer for Pioneer Landscaping at the same cost as last year and the topographical survey of Horizon Park for the MDEQ will be done the next week, weather permitting, for the park upgrades; and
• Held a discussion on the aerators in the Victoria Commons ponds and decided to continue to have the DPW put them in and take them out seasonally.
Absent and excused from meeting were DDA members Rosemary Loria and Brian Copsey.
By Rosemary K. Otzman