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Categorized | News

City of Cedar Springs year in review


Mike Womack

By Mike Womack, City Manager

The City of Cedar Springs has had a busy and productive year with staff and members of each board putting in lots of work to move the City forward. City Staff have been able to reduce operating costs in several ways while simultaneously seeking out and receiving multiple grants.

The Citizen Survey that was sent out earlier this year has been enlightening and contained feedback that is directing the focus of the City’s actions. The compiled results of the survey were presented to the City Council at their October Regular Meeting and are available on the City’s website under the NEWS tab. https://cityofcedarsprings.org/2018/12/03/citizen-survey-results/

The City sidewalk project is nearly completed and has greatly increased the interconnectivity and mobility of the neighborhoods east of Main St. The City hopes to do more sidewalks west of Main St. as grants become available.

The City has changed a number of zoning ordinances to reflect our desire to promote business growth within the City, while also improving safety and aesthetic concerns. The 2018 sign ordinance allows more and bigger signs, allows new pole signs to be constructed in the HC district, allows digital signs in some districts, removes some signs from regulation and is overall a much better and easier sign ordinance than before. The City passed a new landscaping ordinance, lighting ordinance and parking ordinance, which will help beautify new businesses and keep customers safe in their parking lots. The City reorganized its site plan requirements to make them easier to understand for new businesses looking to come into the City and removed some of the more burdensome regulations on businesses looking to retrofit existing buildings for new business use. The City also passed a new accessory building ordinance which makes it easier to put new sheds, garages and other accessory buildings in your side or rear yards.

The newly reorganized Downtown Development Authority (DDA) has worked on creating a new appearance for downtown signage and expects to install new street and parking lot signs in the downtown area soon. The DDA has also found opportunities to team up with the Chamber of Commerce to add a little fun to the downtown, most recently with the Adopt a Flower Pot contest for Halloween and with the lighting of trees along Main Street. Mayor Hall graciously donated his time to string the lights along Main Street.

The City worked with the CS Brewing company to have a Farmer’s Market each Thursday over the summer in the Heart of Cedar Springs, authorized food trucks and carts to operate in the City and worked with the Red Flannel Festival to organize another fun and safe event in October.

Finally, the City continues to work with the Community Building Development Team (CBDT), to develop an amphitheater and playground in the Heart of Cedar Springs. The CBDT has also been an integral partner in developing the new fire station building.

The November 2018 election brought a new face to the City Council and created a five of seven majority of women on the Council. The Citizens of Cedar Springs voted in favor of allowing recreational marijuana by 59 percent and also voted to approve the fire station millage. Many voters felt that the estimated costs of the building were too high. As a result the fire station committee is working to reduce those estimated costs. It is the hope that actual construction costs will be less than estimated. Over the coming months the City will be working on reducing estimated costs of the new fire station building, preparing the site, removing the old library building and lining up the work of the building itself. It is estimated that the fire station will begin construction in the Fall of 2019 or Spring of 2020.

The City Council recently passed a ban on the sale of commercial marihuana in the City until the State is able to issue its regulations. With such a massive and fundamental change in marihuana policy and with much of the State’s regulations unwritten and unknown at this time, the Council simply wants to review State regulations before allowing marihuana to be sold in the City. The City expects to have a public meeting seeking community input about potentially reversing the ban at some point in the future.

The City is also planning the development of a business park on West Street that should come at little to no cost to the citizens of Cedar Springs. The City has hired a contractor to finish up the water meter replacements with all new radio read meters. This will end the much-disliked estimated water bills once and for all and the City will once again go to actual reads every single month. We appreciate everybody’s patience as we have worked to complete this overhaul of the system. Citizens should expect to be contacted by the City’s contractor to set up appointments for meter replacement in early January. 

Finally, citizens are always welcome at City Hall and are encouraged to visit with questions, thoughts or concerns. City Hall has recruited several new employees over the last two years and we look forward to meeting with citizens who haven’t stopped by City Hall in the last couple of years.

You can contact Cedar Springs City Manager Mike Womack by email at manager@cityofcedarsprings.org, or call him at 616-696-1330. Cedar Springs City Hall is located at 66 S. Main Street, Cedar Springs.

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