Clare City Commissioners gave their support and will ask the City attorney to look over a proposed contract that would allow a Hollywood production company to film a pilot show and potentially film a series in Clare about the City Police and their bakery, Cops and Doughnuts.
The full-time officers and business owners were at the City meeting Monday evening as were several former city officials and nearby business people, all to support the proposed agreement and new show proposed for the “Food Network.”
Greg Rynearson, one of the bakery owners, said they were approached in 2010 about a “small town reality show” by a national production company, Blondie Girl Productions. To do the project, he said the company would need to be able to access city facilities and “ride along” with officers to show that the department is “real police.”
This means the City would have to approve an agreement with the production company.
Stacy Stocking of Harrison supported the concept and the agreement, telling the Commission that Harrison may be opening a bakery “precinct” and would like the opportunity to participate with the company if the opportunity came up to involve the County Sheriff’s Department.
Nathan Rogers, an owner of Stage Right, encouraged the Commission’s support, saying the program could “create a buzz about Clare and bring in more people.”
Rynearson said the show would be family oriented and play on the Food Network. Clare Officer and bakery co-owner Al White said a half-hour show in Jackson Hole, Wyoming was wildly successful.
The agreement calls for eight to 13 episodes per year for up to five years, White said. “We will have some say in what is broadcast,” White said. “We wouldn’t want Clare to look bad. We think it would be good for Clare,” He added.
Doherty Hotel owner Jim Doherty said, “We are completely for this. It would be a boom for our business. It’s a win for everybody and I can’t imagine anyone not being for this.”
Former Commissioner and Mayor Al Iacco said, “This is a win-win situation for all of us. Cops and Doughnuts is the biggest draw we have [in Clare]. I’ve talked to a lot of people who used to just come through Clare. Now they stop here.”
Clare Chief Dwayne Miedzianowski told the Commission, “We will never get this marketing chance again.
Commissioner Bill Horwood said, “We should send this to our lawyer and get feedback.”
Commissioner Tom Koch said, “This is a great opportunity for our town. We need it.”
Commissioner Jean McConnell said that she was in favor of the program, but would like to have the liability issue looked at first.
Clare County Commissioner Leonard Strouse said, “I would like to see you vote on this and approve it.”
City Manager Ken Hibl said, “What we are asking the Commission is if we can have permission to have this contract looked at. This could be great for all [area] businesses.” He said City Attorney Jaynie Hoerauf recommended the City engage services of a “subject matter expert attorney.” He added, “We would also need review and comment by our insurance carrier.”
Another important discussion item on the City agenda Monday evening was whether the city will repair, refurbish or build a new pump station on the north end of the City.
Hibl said, “The City’s Sanitary Pump Station Number 5 (located near Burger Kind) services all commercial properties north of the Shell Service Station and the Mackey Rest Area north of the City. It is one of our oldest pump stations and is in need of rehabilitation.”
Hibl said the station has been on the City’s “wish” list of wastewater projects for the last few years. He said the cost to rehabilitate the station is estimated at $75 to $100,000. He continued saying the City has approximately $210,000 in United States Department of Agriculture – Rural Development loan funds not earmarked for the Webitat project and wastewater plant upgrade, but the funds must be allocated to a project by July.
Craig Goodrich, representing City Engineers Gourdie Fraser & Associates said fixing the station would cost approximately $75 to $100,000. He said that option would extend the station life for approximately five years. Another option would extend the station’s use for approximately 20 years and involve a complete rehabilitation at an estimated $175,000 cost. “You would still need another pump station if there is an expansion on the north end of the City,” he said.
Jennifer Hodges, also representing Gourdie Fraser and Associates, said a new pump station, built to handle the present businesses there and any development expansion would cost about $400,000 although it wouldn’t all have to be done now. Just a new station would cost approximately $250,000, she said.
Hibl said he was asking the Commission if they would like the City administration and GFA to look into costs of the different options. “That area north of the City will develop eventually,” he said, “and it will need infra-structure.”
He added, “Do we Band-Aid or do a 20 year fix? If the northern land is developed we could be throwing our money away. We already have the USDA loan in place with $210,000 in funds available, but we have to have a project in place by July 31 to use the funds.”
Commissioner Koch said he would prefer to see the City fixing the station and that any developer pays for a new station when one is needed.
Commissioner Bob Bonham said, “Why should a developer pay for a new station when all of the businesses up there would be using it?”
Horwood said, “We don’t know what we should do until we see numbers. I’m making a motion to get the numbers on both.”
Other business at the City meeting Monday evening included:
*A report from Alro Steel Plant Manager Dawn Thomas on the recently formed Central Michigan Manufacturing Association (CMMA) which covers five counties including Clare, Gratiot, Isabella, Mecosta and Montcalm. Thomas is member of the CMMA Board of Directors, and gave the Commission an overview of the organization. Hibl reported that the city had applied for an associate membership.
*Approving a two-year extension of the contract with Waste Management for solid waste services in the City.
*Approving a one-year renewal of the contract with AWOL for Cherry Grove Cemetery maintenance.
*Accepting a bid from Denise Fletcher and another from William Myers for two former patrol cars.
*Approval of an increase in Election Inspector and worker wages to be more competitive.
*Approval of a temporary traffic control order to place 25 miles per hour signs west of the Dunlop Road railroad crossing, the recent site of a train-vehicle accident.
*Approval of a renewal of the agreement with Listening Ear supporting their crisis center.
*Reappointment of Roger Williams to the Main Street Board as the Chamber of Commerce representative.