New Emerald Isle complex may get roads improved

July 5, 2019

The Emerald Isle Recreation complex located south of Clare on Pinecrest Street.

By Pat Maurer

In a busy meeting Monday evening, Clare City Commission approved an intergovernmental agreement between the City, Vernon Township and Isabella County Road Commission for gravel and ditching improvements to “certain roadways” located in Vernon City.

The board approved the agreement 3-1 with Commissioner Bob Bonham voting no, saying the roads needed more reconstruction than this project will provide.

The three-way partnership will split the $47,895.43 improvement project equally at $15,965.14 each.

City Manager Ken Hibl recommended the agreement saying, “As one of the roads (Pinecrest) to be improved is adjacent to and services the City-owned Emerald Isle Recreation Complex, it is considered to be in the City’s best interest to partner with Vernon Township and the Isabella Road Commission to cost-share in the proposed project – particularly since it is the City’s intent to request jurisdictional control of the roadway to the City of Clare in the future and add the road to the City’s street system.”

In his report to the board on another matter, Hibl noted, “We have received news from the Michigan Department of Transportation [MDOT] has committed funds to eliminate the Clare (rail-trail) Gap. The funds will be provided to the Mt. Pleasant TSC in 2019 for design and the project will tentatively be scheduled for construction in 2021. This will be the culmination of 20+ years of effort on the part of the City to complete the construction of Pere Marquette Rail Trail.”

He also reported, “This City has received notice from the Veteran’s Administration that it intends to release bid solicitation for the construction of a new 18,000 square foot structure or the rehabilitation of an existing structure to house a new Veteran’s Clinic within the geographical boundaries of the City of Clare.”

The Commission also held a Public Hearing and the first reading of a proposed conditional zoning change for the ShopKo property on the south side of the City.

MTW Industries, a Mt. Pleasant light-industrial manufacturing company that does metal stamping and custom fabrication, has expressed interest in purchasing the ShopKo property and relocating both their Mt. Pleasant facility and one in Rosebush to Clare.

He said MTW has offered to relocate to Clare on the condition that the property is rezoned for their use. “MTW believes that the property is ideally suited for the proposed use due to its location and easy access to US-127 and US-10, the size and layout of the building, the existing parking lot and the opportunity for future expansion on the property (approximately 11 acres).”

MTW presently employs 18 and has plans to add 10 more jobs if they move to Clare.

Hibl said, “They are a very reputable company with a current contract with Caterpillar and other major manufacturers.”

They have entered into negotiations with the realtor in New York that is handling the ShopKo property sales nationally as part of their bankruptcy proceedings, Hibl said in his agenda report.

The City Planning commission recommended the approval of the rezoning request, but the public hearing brought some objections to the rezoning.
Cody West, a resident on North Mission, said he is concerned of noise and traffic. “I live right across the road,” he said.

Dave Kruskamp listed his concerns. “We already have two industrial parks. He listed child safety, a residential area, busses, and noise and traffic safety concerns. “I do not wish for the property to be changed into industrial,” he said.

On the other side, Pam Laughlin of Middle Michigan Development said, “This would definitely be a boost to the Clare economy.”

Bob Campbell of MTI addressed the concerns. He said truck traffic would be minimal with about five arriving and five leaving during a week. He said the computerized equipment they use is quiet and their shifts are from 6 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. He said they would also put up a natural barrier to screen the facility from neighbors.

He also said truck traffic would be south, using the freeway access.
Laughlin added, “If you don’t allow this, the building could be vacant and deteriorate until it has to be torn down.”

A second public hearing and the Commission’s decision will be at the July 15 regular meeting.

Other business at the meeting Monday included:

*Recognition of former City Commissioner Jean McConnell for 14 years of service to the City including 12 years on the City Commission.

*Approval of a Verizon Water Tower lease agreement.

*Approval of a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service agreement. Hibl said they have given the City a $2,000 grant for natural spaces design work at the Emerald Isle Recreational Complex.

*Approval of another grant from the Saginaw Bay Watershed Initiative Network for a $20,000 grant. Hibl said $10,000 would be use for playground equipment and the other $10,000 for natural resources (green spaces) at the Emerald Isle Complex.

*Approval of an ordinance governing special events in the City.

*Approval of an ordinance governing offenses (drugs, intoxication and open containers of alcohol) in public places in the City.

*Approval of an ordinance governing parks and recreation, specifically the length of time campers can use Pettit Park.

*Approval of an ordinance governing the sale and display of fireworks in the city.

*Approval of an ordinance for Law Enforcement that lists a $500 fee for civil infractions.

*Approval of another Law Enforcement ordinance to address the public use of marihuana.

*Approval of bills totaling $157,174.01.

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