By Diane Madigan
Independent Special Writer
At its Aug. 27 meeting the Van Buren Township Downtown Development Authority approved the purchase of three rights of way on the east side of Belleville Road which will allow for sidewalks to be constructed from Tyler north, almost to Robson.
The three parcels include one at 8559 Belleville Road for $10,000, owned by Jack Story. Two other rights of way were purchased from Mary Ellen Brown for $121,700. Her parcels are located just north of Meijer on Belleville Road.
The properties were appraised several times. Any back taxes were paid as well as 2013 Summer Taxes. The total cost for the three rights of ways was approved for $131,700.
There are already rights of way on the six properties north of 8559, said DDA Executive Director Susan Ireland.
The sidewalks along Belleville Road will allow residents from Belleville Manor mobile home park to walk to Meijer without walking through traffic.
In related business concerning Belleville Road, Matt Stacy of Wade Trim engineering consultants gave an update on the Belleville/Ecorse roads intersection.
Permanent signs are expected to be going up the first week of September. Wayne County will turn on the signals. Timing on lights may take a couple of days, Stacy said.
He said once the signs are up, travelers must be aware that a left turn directly from Belleville Road will not be allowed. Drivers will need to make a Michigan Left. Some DDA members said they hope the police will give the drivers a break for a couple days.
Belleville Road mast arms
Stacy and Dave Nummer, both of Wade Trim, then gave an update on the mast arms expected to be put up along Belleville Road as part of the new federally funded program.
They said MDOT does not approve of black signals on exit ramps from freeways, so a black back plate will be added to the signals. The mast arm for a new signal just south of Meijer has been approved.
Because the span across the service drives are 130 feet wide and five lanes, the cost of a solid mast arm could be around $75,000. An example of this type of mast arm can be seen at Jackson and Zeeb Road intersection.
Wade Trim will investigate further for a more accurate price.
DDA member Carol Bird said she would like a solid mast arm but, even more, would rather have emergency sirens.
Director Ireland said that Fire Chief Dan Besson continues to look for grant money for sirens. She said Chief Besson did add sirens to the township’s capital improvement plan for future consideration.
DDA member Mark Laginess asked if the DDA could help kick-start the emergency siren program by purchasing two or three for the district. The cost a year ago was between $18,000 and $20,000 each.
Laginess said VBT is the only community around that doesn’t have emergency sirens. He said from a public safety standpoint, they are needed.
Ireland said she will speak with Chief Besson about the sirens.
In other business at the Aug. 27 meeting, the DDA:
• Approved spending $500 to be a sponsor for the Michigan Downtown Association Conference, scheduled in Grand Rapids Oct. 23-25. The $500 sponsorship includes $100 for admission to the conference for VBT DDA Executive Director Susan Ireland. Ireland serves on the MDA board of directors; and
• Learned the zoo millage appeal was to be on hold until September.
Absent from the meeting were VBT Supervisor Linda Combs and DDA member Edward Miller, who had asked to be excused. Members Joe Baskin, Jr. and Ron Blank were just absent. Also absent was Deputy Supervisor Karin LaMothe who is the DDA’s recording secretary.
By Diane Madigan