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Tag Archive | "city of cedar springs"

Sidewalk project begins


This photo was taken on Ash Street earlier this week. Post photo by J. Reed.

This photo was taken on Ash Street earlier this week. Post photo by J. Reed.

By Judy Reed

The City of Cedar Springs new sidewalk project began in earnest this week as construction workers removed some of the old sidewalks to make way for the new.

The sidewalk project mainly encompasses sidewalks on the east side of  Main Street, for east-west access on parts of Beech, Ash, Cherry, Elm, Maple, and Oak Streets, and north south access on Grant, Park, Linda, and Ann Streets. A sidewalk from Cedar Springs Mobile Estates on 18 Mile Rd to Main Street is also included. Many of the sidewalks have been in place since the 1950s and are badly in need of repair. Other spots have no sidewalk at all.

The project is being made possible through a Community Development Block grant, and taxpayers will not be assessed on it. The initial estimate was $625,000, but according to City Manager Mike Womack, the project came in much less expensive at $468,000 after some minor adjustments. 

“Some of that money will go toward a full time inspector from the engineers instead of part time inspections to guarantee quality work,” said Womack. 

Work is expected to be completed by the end of the month.

You can access the plans for the project at https://cityofcedarsprings.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/CS-2018-Sidewalk-Combined-Plans.pdf.

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City adopts new address policy


When a family member is suffering a medical emergency, how fast rescue personnel arrive on the scene can mean the difference between life and death. “Every minute counts,” said Cedar Springs Fire Chief Marty Fraser.

But the exact house can be hard to find when the address is not posted on the outside of the home, or the numerals are too small to be read. So, at the request of police and fire personnel who require visible posted addresses for emergency response, the City of Cedar Springs has adopted a new address policy to formalize the size, contrast, and placement of addresses for every home and business in Cedar Springs.

Under the new policy, single-family residences must have their address legible and visible from the street, using Arabic numerals or letters, and no less than four inches in height and no less than .5 inch wide.

Multi-family homes must comply in the same way, but also have apartment or suite numbers on all entrance doors.

There are also specific requirements for businesses. You can see all requirements in the policy at https://cityofcedarsprings.org/2018/08/23/address-policy/.

All commercial, industrial and rental residential addresses must comply with the policy by October 9. Single family residential must comply with the policy by December 9.

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New drinking fountain at staging area


Photos courtesy of the City of Cedar Springs

If you get thirsty or run out of water while walking the White Pine Trail, you now have a convenient place to fill your water bottle.

The City of Cedar Springs recently installed a drinking fountain outside of the bathroom at staging area at the end of W. Maple Street.

“I don’t recall seeing another one to the south until you get to Riverside Park in GR and there isn’t one in Sand Lake,” said City Manager Mike Womack. “It will be a great opportunity for runners and bikers to fill their water bottles here in the City.”

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PFAS not detected in City of Cedar Springs water


The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) has begun a statewide initiative to test drinking water from all schools that use well water and community water supplies. The test is looking for a group of manmade chemicals called per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). MDEQ is taking this precautionary step of testing these drinking water sources to determine if public health actions are needed.

The City of Cedar Springs tested its water earlier this year and PFAS was not detected. Not long after, it was tested again as part of the MDEQ initiative, and the results were the same—PFAS was not detected.

It is not uncommon to find low levels of PFAS in drinking water supplies, as PFAS can be found in fire-fighting foams, stain repellants, nonstick cookware, waterproof clothing, food wrappers, and many other household products. They do not break down in the environment and move easily into water.

The City of Cedar Springs was tested by AECOM, MDEQ’s contractor. The results show that of the PFOA and PFOS tested,  none were found in the water. The level is below the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) lifetime health advisory (LHA) of 70 parts per trillion. 

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Wetland restoration construction underway 


Local high schoolers worked on the wetland’s construction project and planted over 600 native wetland plants to further enhance the wetland’s capacity to filter polluted runoff.

Trout Unlimited and local partners recently began construction of two wetland restorations in downtown Cedar Springs. Wetlands provide vital, valuable services such as filtering pollution from stormwater runoff, providing fish and wildlife habitat, and controlling floodwaters. The wetland restoration sites, though both small, are a high priority for water quality improvement due to their proximity to Cedar Creek and their location in urban downtown Cedar Springs. Cedar Creek is one of the coldest tributaries to the Rogue River and supports healthy populations of brook, brown, and rainbow trout, but is at risk due to the continued development of the watershed and wetland loss. 

SouthPeat Environmental LLC and Dean’s Excavating completed construction on the first wetland restoration near the Cedar Springs Library. Trout Unlimited’s Green Team of local high schoolers also worked on the project and planted over 600 native wetland plants to further enhance the wetland’s capacity to filter polluted runoff. The second wetland, just upstream, is due to be completed by the fall. The Department of Environmental Quality awarded Trout Unlimited over $200,000 of grant funding for this urban wetland restoration initiative in the Rogue River watershed. The City of Cedar Springs and the Cedar Springs Community Building Development Team has contributed $22,000 to this project.  

These wetlands will not only improve water quality of Cedar Creek and the Rogue River but also provide the Cedar Springs community many opportunities to experience nature through enjoying the birds and butterflies, observing the blooms of native flowers throughout the seasons, and hearing the songs of spring peepers and other wildlife. 

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Prescription Drug Take-Back Day on April 28


 

The Michigan State Police (MSP) is urging residents to discard expired, unused and unwanted pills during National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day this Saturday, one of two annual events held in partnership with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and other law enforcement agencies.

MSP’s 30 posts will participate in the one-day Take-Back effort from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 28, by serving as drop-off points. All collected pills will be destroyed. No liquids, inhalers, patches, or syringes will be accepted.

“With opioid and prescription drug abuse, accidental poisonings and overdoses becoming all too common, I strongly urge Michiganders to use this opportunity to check what is in your medicine cabinet and then properly dispose of any medications you no longer need,” said Col. Kriste Kibbey Etue, director of the MSP.

National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day is held twice a year, in April and October. During the October 2017 effort, MSP posts collected roughly 802 pounds of prescription drugs.

Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet. Further, disposing of unused medicines by flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash can pose safety and health hazards.

Find your closest MSP Post at www.michigan.gov/msp. Additional collection sites across the state can be found by going to www.dea.gov.

Anyone who is unable to participate on National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day can anonymously surrender their prescription drugs at any MSP post, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., excluding holidays.

The City of Cedar Springs also collects unused prescription drugs daily Monday through Thursday, from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. No liquids, inhalers, patches, or syringes will be accepted.

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City to go to 2-day work week


Cedar Springs City Manager hatched out a new idea to make the City more efficient. Courtesy photo.

By Judy Reed

The City of Cedar Springs has been experimenting with a four day work week with extended hours for awhile now, and City Manager Mike Womack said it’s been working really well. So well, in fact, that he has challenged the rest of the employees to step up their game.

“Instead of working four 10-hour days, we are going to be working two 20-hour days each week, starting next week,” he told the Post. “Just think with that many hours in the day, how much more we can get done!”

Womack explained that they will rotate the 20-hour days so that one week it will be Monday and Wednesday, the next week Tuesday and Thursday, and the next week Wednesday and Friday. Hours will be from 7 a.m. to 3 a.m.

Womack said the hours won’t bother him because he usually works long hours anyway. But he plans to bring a lot of coffee for his employees. He might even throw in an energy drink or two. And donuts will be on the house. “You have to do what you can to keep your employees happy,” he said with a laugh. 

Once the public gets used to the hours, Womack thinks they will also come to appreciate it. “Just think about it. The bar closes at 2 a.m., right? You are leaving the bar at 2 a.m. and suddenly realize you forgot to pay your water bill or your taxes. It was due earlier in the day, but now that we are open until 3 a.m., you actually can still get here on time!”

He said it would also be great for Planning Commission and City Council meetings. “We can put so much more on the agenda. The meetings can go on until the wee hours of the morning if need be, and we won’t have to worry about getting home.”

A couple of things might take some getting used to. If you have a water main break in front of your home, you won’t be able to call the DPW if it’s their day off. “You will need to call a plumber,” advised Womack. “Just have them put some duct tape on the leak and we’ll fix it the next day.” He suggested that if anyone has a problem knowing where to put the duct tape, just google “Red Green.” 

“He always has good ideas,” noted Womack.

It will be the same type of thing if we get a snowstorm. “The same way people are required to shovel the sidewalk in front of their home, you’ll need to shovel the roadway in front of your home,” explained Womack. He added that people would be ticketed if caught using a snow blower. “You are not allowed to use a snow blower. It might ding up the asphalt and lead to another pothole. We can’t have the money we are saving by not turning the lights on go to fixing a pothole you created yourself.”

Womack said he’s really looking forward to starting the new hours. He said they plan on starting on Monday, the day after April Fools Day!

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Beekeeping now legal in city


Residents can now apply for a permit to keep bees in the City of Cedar Springs, after the City Council approved an ordinance last month on beekeeping. 

According to the ordinance, it will be for an experimental period of two years. “To strike a balance between those who desire to keep honeybees and the concerns raised by others regarding possible problems with allowing honeybees to be kept in the City – and to allow the City Council to assess whether honeybees should be allowed to be kept in the City on a permanent basis – the City Council finds that permitting the keeping of honeybees on an experimental two (2) year basis is the appropriate intermediate compromise solution,” reads the ordinance.

A person will need to apply for a permit from the planning commission to keep bees. Letters will be sent to all those with adjacent properties informing them of the person’s intention to keep bees. If anyone objects, that objection will be given to the planning commission along with the application.

The Planning Commission shall review the permit application in light of the following factors:

  1. The number of honeybees the applicant desires to keep;
  2. The size of the lot on which honeybees are proposed to be kept;
  3. The adequacy of the applicant’s plans for housing and confining the honeybees, specifically the intention to follow the guidelines promulgated and known as the Generally Accepted Agricultural and Management Practices for the Care of Farm Animals January 2015 – Beekeeping and Apiary Management as published by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development
  4. Input received from adjacent property owners; and
  5. Other factors relevant to the applicant’s particular circumstances.

A beekeeper must follow all guidelines in the ordinance, including: Keep no more than a total of two hives on real property less than 10,890 square feet; no more than 4 hives on real property less than 21,780 square feet; no more than 6 hives on real property less than 43,560 square feet; and no more than eight hives on real property more than 43,561 square feet.

For more of the guidelines, see sections 8-73 to 8-79. Go to http://dev.cityofcedarsprings.org/ordinances/

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City of Cedar Springs water shows no contamination


In the wake of recent news reports regarding Perfluorooctyl Sulfonate (PFOS) and Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA) chemicals in West Michigan drinking water, the City of Cedar Springs decided to test its water supply to ensure that City provides the highest quality water to its residents.

The City sent water samples to Fleis and Vandenbrink for testing on December 21, 2017 and received results back January 17, 2018. Fleis and Vandenbrink sampled and tested (in compliance with USEPA method 537) wells 3 and 4, each drawing from one of the two supplying aquifers for the City. Analysis for both wells shows “no detection” for PFOS and PFOA with zero parts per trillion.  Federal advisory limits for PFOS and PFOA are seventy parts per trillion and the State of Michigan is considering setting its standards at five parts per trillion.

“Cedar Springs Department of Public Works monitors and tests the municipal water supply and distribution system on a daily basis to comply with DEQ standards and to ensure the highest water quality for our citizens,” Director of Public Works David Ducat said.  

City Hall received several phone calls over the last several weeks from concerned citizens asking about whether city water had been tested. “We hadn’t tested the water for PFOS because we aren’t in the PFOS expansion zone and our geography made it unlikely that we would be affected,” explained City Manager Mike Womack.  

“The city obviously cares about the well-being of its citizens’ water supply and wanted to remove all doubts. We’re satisfied that the aquifers that Cedar Spring draws its supply from is not contaminated and we are not impacted by the problems to the south.”  

The city’s most recent water quality report can be found on the City’s website under “NEWS” or under the Public Works page.

While the city municipal water supply is uncontaminated, Womack pointed out that those results do not apply to private wells and citizens with concerns about their home’s well-water should consider getting their well-water tested. “The most recent DEQ map seems to show the recent PFOS problems are all located south of 12 Mile Road,” said Womack.

Over the last several months the State of Michigan started an investigation into Wolverine World Wide’s tannery waste dump sites from the 1960s and 1970s in northern Kent County after it was discovered that residents living around the dumpsite had incredibly high levels of the toxic chemicals in their blood and in their drinking water.  Several municipalities have been affected by the PFOS plume emanating southward from 10 Mile Road including Rockford, Plainfield Township, and Belmont.

Any Cedar Springs residents with questions about the city’s water safety can contact City Manager Mike Womack at manager@cityofcedarsprings or the DPW Director David Ducat at DPW@cityofcedarsprings.org or 616.696.1330.

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Top story of 2017: Library grand opening


The new Cedar Springs Community Library was a dream that finally became reality in 2017. Photo by J. Reed.

By Judy Reed

This is one of the library’s newest visitors, who seems to be enjoying reading and returning books. Courtesy photo.

A lot of things happened in Cedar Springs in 2017, but one that will be remembered and treasured for generations to come was the building and grand opening of the new Cedar Springs Community Library, located in the heart of Cedar Springs, at the corner of Main and W. Maple Streets.

The project, which was many years in the making, became a reality on May 13, with a grand opening celebration and ribbon cutting ceremony. The library, which is designed to resemble a train depot, is now a main attraction in the heart of Cedar Springs. 

The new 10,016 square-foot building was built with donated funds, products, and services from the community and local businesses. The additional 8,000 square feet (the former library was 2,000 square feet) allows for much greater areas for reading, special events, and small group gatherings.

The new library is beautiful, spacious, modern, and comfortable. It includes separate areas for children, teens, and adults; 12 computer stations; four stations for children’s computers; a cozy reading or meeting area with fireplace and chairs; three small group rooms for tutoring or studying; and a classroom with white board and screen. 

Another draw is the community room, which holds up to 75 people with the tables and chairs, and 100 without. A complete kitchen opens up into the community room. People can walk out of the community room to a patio, which is facing the creek. 

The Community Building Development Team partnered with the City, Solon Township, and the Library board to get the project up and running. Many local residents and businesses made generous donations or provided in-kind services, and frequent fundraisers were held to help raise the funds. In July, the $1,845,190 project was officially paid off.

“We are so excited to be able to announce that our community’s library building is now completely paid for,” said Library Director Donna Clark, in a previous Post article. “With a lot of substantial financial help and support of the Community Building Development Team, the Library Board’s Building Committee and the wonderful members of our community, we have no mortgage, no interest, no debt!”  

Also sitting on the property is a Veteran’s Clock Tower, a bridge across Cedar Creek, a steel dragonfly sculpture, and the historic flowing well. An amphitheatre is slated to be built on the rear of the property in the near future.

If you are interested in helping the library raise funds for books and other equipment, you can purchase a brick for $50 or $100, or simply make a donation. For more information, visit http://cedarspringslibrary.org/news/bricks-and-blocks-for-new-library/ or call the library at 696-1910 for more information.

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