By Rosemary K. Otzman
The six outdoor sculptures leased for a year by the Belleville Downtown Development Authority will be erected throughout the downtown area on Friday, May 16.
At the April 16 meeting of the DDA, Coordinator Carol Thompson said she got word from the Midwest Sculpture Initiative that they will park in the Liberty Street parking lot and put up all the statues in one day.
Thompson said since the construction on the upgrades to Horizon Park will take place this summer, they will be sure to put up the sculpture for Horizon Park way down by the gazebo so it doesn’t get run over by a bulldozer.
The sculptures are being leased to the city for about $11,000. The DDA approved $5,000 for the project and Thompson got public donations for the rest.
The annual Belleville Beautification Project, to clean up the shores of Belleville Lake and the downtown area, has been set for Saturday, May 17.
The project, which started with the BYC cleaning up the shoreline, grew into a cooperative effort with the DDA and the City of Belleville joining in to clean up the whole downtown.
In other business at the 35-minute, April 16 meeting, the DDA:
• Accepted the low bid of Davenport Brothers Construction of Belleville for installation of three poles in the grass in te Five Points area to hold some of the Wayfinding Signs. Davenport’s bid actually was $10 more at $2,950 than Graph-X of Plymouth’s bid of $2,940, but when the preference for city vendors (6%) was figured into the total that gave Davenport the edge. Bids also came from Blue Ribbon Contracting of Van Buren Township at $4,200 and Terrafirma of Ypsilanti at $3,950. The signs will be put on those poles and others along Main Street by the sign fabricator, Graph-X;
• Discussed the proposal to put up a crosswalk sign in the middle of Main Street at the Fourth Street crosswalk, to alert drivers to pedestrians. City Councilman Tom Fielder, a former DDA member, has been working out the details for the crossing sign and has discussed it with the city council. He told the council he would ask the DDA for money to pay for it. Interim Police Chief Hal Berriman sat at that crossing to look it over and told Fielder that he felt they needed to take out one parking space in front of the Bayou in order to give enough safe turning radius for drivers turning north from Fourth Street. Spicer engineer Dave Vallier volunteered to do a turn-radius gauging on the streetscape plans that would take him just five minutes. The crosswalk sign is expected to cost about $370;
• Approved renewing a joint advertisement with Van Buren Township DDA in the Metro Detroit ASource. The price is the same as 2013, $1,900, with Belleville’s share being $950;
• Approved joining the Metro Detroit Convention and Visitors Bureau at an annual cost of $225 for promoting events to a larger market. The promotional idea came from the Boo’Ville Steering Committee asking that both Belleville and VBT DDAs join the bureau. There was some discussion at the Boo’Ville meeting about whether Belleville and VBT could join together under the “Belleville” mailing address;
• Passed a motion asking VBT DDA to consider the Halloween / Harvest decorating in the city up into VBT for the Boo’Ville activities throughout October;
• Heard engineer Vallier report that the permit application was completed and taken to VBT and then to the DNR for the upgrades to Horizon Park. He said VBT wanted a few changes, which were made. Once it is permitted it will be sumitted and once the DDA hears from the DNR Trust Fund, he expects the bid letting to be in June;
• Approved $160,567.47 in accounts payable for April, which includes a bond payment of $148,352.07; and
• Heard Mayor Kerreen Conley, who sits on the DDA, ask if she missed something when she was absent from a meeting. She asked if the DDA has made any commitments “to spend money for the library they are taking over the bridge.” DDA chairman John Hoops said the DDA never committed to anything for the library. He said the only thing the Belleville DDA did was pass a resolution that said it wanted to keep the library in the city. “I just wanted to make sure we didn’t do anything,” Mayor Conley said. At the Belleville Area District Library board meetings there have been comments about the Belleville and VBT DDAs using their funds to provide amenities for the library, including a fence along the Belleville Bridge sidewalk to protect pedestrians from traffic.
By Rosemary K. Otzman