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Tag Archive | "city of cedar springs"

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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Slippery roads result in crashes


This truck was one of the two involved in a crash at W. Muskegon and 6th Street Wednesday. Photo by B. Sanderson.

Slippery roads contributed to crashes all over Kent County on Wednesday, January 3. There were a multitude of slide offs, rollovers, and crashes on both the highways and local roads.

One of the crashes occurred in the City of Cedar Springs. The Kent County Sheriff Department responded to a property damage crash at W. Muskegon and 6th shortly before 10 a.m. Sgt. Jason Kelley reported that a westbound pick-up truck lost control, crossed the centerline and struck an eastbound pick-up truck. No injuries were reported. The driver of the westbound vehicle was cited for violation of basic speed law—driving too fast.

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City changes water meter reading schedule


Many residents in the City of Cedar Springs will notice that this month’s water bill shows that it is an estimated reading. That is because the City will temporarily go to quarterly manual readings, with two months estimated and the third month being an actual reading, while they continue the process of upgrading all water meters in the City.

According to information from City Hall, some water meters have been in use for 50 years. The Department of Public Works has been replacing meters that become defective with the radio read style meters since 2014 as funding was available.  City council has approved $35,000 for the purchase of radio read meters each year, but there isn’t enough funding to keep up with the demand for the new style meters as the Rockwell meters age.

Currently the city has 742 Rockwell manual read meters and 236 Neptune radio read meters. It takes a DPW worker approximately 40 hours per month to read the manual meters and the new radio read meters take approximately 2 hours. 

Currently the Department of Public Works obtains actual reads for the nearly 1,000 homes and businesses in the city.  This change will generate an estimated bill for two months and an actual read will be taken on the third month. The savings generated by saving staff time would then be used to purchase new Neptune radio read meters.

Residents should not see a significant change in the price of their bill with this change. The estimate of water usage will be based on the usage for the same month 1 year ago. If the estimate is larger than your actual use you will receive a credit on your third month. If your estimate is less than your actual usage you will be charged for the additional usage in the third month of the billing cycle.

This change will eventually bring an end for estimated bills and in turn allow the DPW to get actual meter reads in a fraction of the time it currently takes.  It is expected that by 2020 all meters will be replaced and will begin receiving actual read bills each month.

This change became effective Wednesday, November 1, 2017:

Water bills will still be sent MONTHLY and Payments will still be due on the seventh of each month and can be paid in person, online, or automatically through your bank account.

The new bill will clearly state when your bill was an estimate or an actual read.

Citizens concerned about this change can monitor their water usage each month. Residents can manually read all manual and radio read meters.

How to read your meter:

Locate your water meter (generally in the basement or crawl space closest to the road).

Record the number displayed on the meter. (New meters require a flashlight to activate the digital display. Shine a flashlight at the digital display for 3-5 seconds to activate the display.)

Example: May 1st 2018 Meter Displayed: 0000220

In 30 days record the number displayed on the meter.

Example: June 1st 2018 Meter Displayed: 0000224

Take the number that you most recently recorded and subtract it from the number that you recorded at the beginning of the month.

Example:

00000224 -00000220= 0000004

Water usage is billed for every 1,000 gallons used. This number never gets rounded up.

****Your number on your water meter will never go down. It is like the odometer on your car it will always go up showing you how many gallons have passed through since it was installed.*****

Example: Meter reading * 1,000 = gallons used since meter installation

8/16/2016 –  10*1,000 = 10,000 gallons used since installation

8/16/2017 – 224*1,000= 224,000  gallons used since installation

8/16/2018 – 1457*1,000= 1,457,000  gallons used since installation

For more information on the water bills, please visit: http://dev.cityofcedarsprings.org/hrf_faq/water/ 

Customers with specific concerns about their bill should contact the City’s Department of Public Works Director at 616-696-1330 Ext. 108.

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Winter parking in effect


The Kent County Sheriff Department Cedar Springs Unit would like to remind the residents of the City of Cedar Springs that winter parking is now in effect.

Under Ordinance No. 180 Section 36-86, no parking is allowed from 3 a.m. to 6 a.m. from November 1 to April 1 on streets and areas that have a curb, such as Main Street and connecting side streets, and no parking within a distance of 20 feet of the center of a street for all other areas. The ordinance was created to help with snow removal.

There are public lots available to park in overnight, but cars must be moved daily. Lots can be found at the NE corner of Ash and Second; the SE corner of Elm and Second; the SW corner of Ash and First; and the NW corner of Cherry and First.

“Compliance with the ordinance is key in keeping the city roads clear during the winter months,” said Sgt. Jason Kelley, supervisor of the Cedar Springs Unit. “Your attention to and assistance with this matter is greatly appreciated.”

A violation of the ordinance is a civil infraction.

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Don’t forget to vote Tuesday


It should be a pretty quiet Tuesday as far as elections go. There is not much on the ballot in Kent County—and the only thing in northern Kent County is the City of Cedar Springs has two people running for two seats. Gerald Hall, who is currently serving as Mayor, is running for his seat; and Lisa Atchinson, who currently serves on the planning commission, is running for the seat vacated by Dan Clark, who decided not to run again.

Other cities in Kent County having elections include East Grand Rapids, Grand Rapids, Grandville, Kentwood, Lowell, and Walker. There are a few ballot proposals for those cities as well.

The only other issue that might affect some people in Kent County is that Greenville Public Schools is also having residents vote on a bond proposal. They are asking to borrow the sum of not to exceed Forty-Six Million Four Hundred Forty Thousand Dollars ($46,440,000) and issue its general obligation unlimited tax bonds therefore, in one or more series, for the purpose of: erecting, furnishing and equipping additions to school buildings; remodeling, equipping and re-equipping and furnishing and refurnishing school buildings; acquiring, installing and equipping or re-equipping school buildings for instructional technology; and preparing, developing, improving and equipping playgrounds and sites.

The estimated millage that will be levied for the proposed bonds in 2018 is 2.26 mills ($2.26 on each $1,000 of taxable valuation) for a 1.20 mills net increase over the prior year’s levy.

For a complete listing of proposals go to accesskent.com and click on elections, then current election cycle.

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City to consider beekeeping ordinance


By Judy Reed

The City of Cedar Springs may soon join the ranks of other progressive cities that are helping to support the environment by allowing residents to keep bees. The City Council will consider the first reading of the ordinance at their monthly meeting this Thursday, September 7.

City resident Joe Frank asked the city to consider allowing beekeeping in the city earlier this summer. He has kept honeybees as a hobby for several years. He had several hives on property he owned in Hesperia, and when he decided to sell the property, he re-homed all of the hives, except one, with other beekeepers. He had previously asked a city official if he could keep a hive on his property here, and was told he could. He moved the hive to his property, but was later told that he couldn’t have it under the current ordinance. That ordinance, Sec. 8-1 Domestic Animals and Fowls reads: “No person shall keep or house any animal or domestic fowl within the city, except dogs, cats, canaries or animals commonly classified as pets which are customarily kept or housed inside dwellings as household pets, or permit any animal or fowl to enter business places where food is sold for human consumption, except for leader, guide, hearing and service dogs as required by MCL 750.502c.”

“Bees are animals and no animals shall be kept except for the ones listed or are commonly classified as pets, which bees are not,” explained City Manager Mike Womack.

Womack gave the council a copy of the beekeeping ordinance in Traverse City, and a draft ordinance for the Planning Commission and City Council to consider.

This green box is Frank’s beehive, and the two white boxes are honey supers, which collect honey. Courtesy photo.

Frank’s hive is a green box inside a shed on his property. There are ports from the hive for the bees to travel through to get outside. They do not fly around inside the shed.

“They are not dangerous,” he explained. “There are already bees flying around outside. They have to live somewhere. Better in a hive than in the wall of your garage,” he noted.

At the August 10 council meeting, former Mayor Mark Fankhauser stated that he supports and recommends allowing bees in the city. He said he has seen a direct increase in the number of flowers as a result of Frank’s bees.

According to Ranger Steve Mueller, our resident wildlife and biology expert, bees are more important than butterflies as pollinators and are not dangerous. “Bees are experiencing population decline for a variety of reasons and can use human help. They are of great positive economic importance. People have an unreasonable fear of bees. Riding or driving in a car is a greater health threat than bees in the neighborhood. Why people develop unhealthy fear of bees and other insects makes little sense but many are taught unreasonable fear as a child and hold on to those fears throughout life,” he explained.

“[Bees] are a community-building, economic resource that benefits people, plants, and wildlife. I encourage people to maintain a portion of their yard for wildflowers and native species to help maintain and sustain biodiversity. Bees are an essential component if we want plants to reproduce,” he remarked.

Mueller said he has a friend that lives close to downtown Denver, Colorado and she has a small beehive in her backyard. “The bees fly about the city in nearby areas pollinating flowers, gathering nectar, and make honey. We eat at their picnic table in the backyard and are not disturbed by bees. We watch them at flowers in the garden that surround the picnic table. We sit on their deck to enjoy the day and have had not problems with the bees that are about 30 feet away. She suits up to open the hive to extract honey and uses normal bee keeping practices for safety,” he said.

Under the proposed ordinance, residents would need to apply for a permit. They could 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. Honeybees must be housed in a properly designed and constructed hive, which may be located only in the “rear yard” of the property. They also cannot be any closer than 10 feet to any property line of an adjacent property.

Frank said he was happy with the draft ordinance the council is considering.

“The State of Michigan has guidelines for beekeeping and the proposal is in line with the State of Michigan Agriculture guidelines, which I think is a good way to go,” he said.

A few of the other cities that allow bees in West Michigan include Grand Rapids, Muskegon, and Holland.

Please note that this article has been updated to refer to the specific ordinance under which bees are not currently allowed in the City of Cedar Springs. We also removed Rockford as a city that allows them. It should have read Muskegon. We apologize for the error.

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Library signed over to city


The Cedar Springs Community Library reverted to the City of Cedar Springs in a signing ceremony Wednesday, August 30. From L to R: Julie Wheeler, notary Independent Bank; Kurt Mabie, Chair of the CBDT; Bob Ellick, Library Board Chair; Gerald Hall, Mayor of Cedar Springs; and Rebecca Newland, Cedar Springs City Clerk. Photo by J. Reed.

By Judy Reed

The ownership of the Cedar Springs Community Library was transferred to the City of Cedar Springs Wednesday in an official signing ceremony at the new Library.

The Community Building Development Team had previously entered an agreement with the City to develop the library on City property, and then sign it over to the City on completion. Both the CBDT and the Library signed a real estate conveyance agreement, quit claim deed, and transfer agreement.

Signing for the CBDT was Chair Kurt Mabie; signing for the Library board was Chair Bob Ellick, who is also Solon Townships Supervisor; and signing for the City of Cedar Springs Mayor Gerald Hall. City Clerk Rebecca Newland was on hand to distribute the paperwork, and Julie Wheeler of Independent Bank served as notary.

The City will now lease the building to the library board.

The new $1.6 million facility was completed in the spring. “This just shows what we can do when we work as a team,” remarked Hall. “We owe a debt of gratitude to a great many people.”

Included are Tom and Claudia Mabie, who donated $300,000 in December of 2006 toward the construction of a new library in an effort to kick start enthusiasm for the project. The signing was an emotional event for Claudia, who has waited a long time to see the library come to fruition. “Cedar Springs is full of kind, caring, hard working people. Good things can and will happen in Cedar Springs,” she said. “Cedar Springs has something to be proud of.”

Other people mentioned included the Holton family for their contributions; Duane McIntyre for his volunteer work; and the dedication of Nugent Builders on the project.

Kurt Mabie said that the next part of the project would be the amphitheatre, which will sit to west of the library. They also hope to have all the bricks in place by Red Flannel Day. There are bricks still available to purchase. You can pick up a brochure at the Library or contact them at 616-696-1910.

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Sidewalk chalk event a hit with kids


Kids in Cedar Springs got their art on Saturday, July 8, when the City and the Library held their first Sidewalk Chalk Art event at the Cedar Springs Community Library.

City Manager Mike Womack said they had 39 artists participate in the event.

“We changed it from a contest to an event because I believe all the art was great and deserving of winning prizes,” explained Womack. He said that each artist got to keep their chalk, got to pick a prize out of the prize box (kites, yo-yo’s and sticker pads) and each artist received a gift card for a free meal from a local fast food establishment.

Supplies and prizes were donated by several different local businesses.

“I personally think it turned out really well,” remarked Womack. “The only thing that would have improved it would have been more participants.  We have enough chalk left over to do another similar event and would like to do it again in either the Fall or Spring,” he added.

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City in need of planning commission members


Do you live in the City of Cedar Springs? Would you like to make a difference in the community? The City of Cedar Springs is looking for additional Planning Commission Members.

The Planning Commission helps shape the future of land use and business development in the City. The board consists of eight members of the community and the Mayor. There is currently one vacant seat, and one or two more seats are expected to be vacant within the year.

The Planning Commission is a volunteer board and usually meets on the first Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m. The input from the commission provides citizens the opportunity to have an input on the decisions that will shape the community for many years to come. To get an idea of what the Planning Commission does, you can download a Planning Commission handbook from the Michigan Municipal League at https://www.mml.org/pdf/pcebook.pdf.

Those wanting to apply for a position must  be 18+ year old, a city resident, and fill out the application that you can find online at http://dev.cityofcedarsprings.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/boards-and-commissions-application.pdf. Please email applications to manager@cityofcedarsprings.org or drop them off at City Hall. The City Manager and the Mayor will review the applications and make their suggestion to the City Council for appointment to the Planning Commission. Application deadline for the vacant position will be July 24.

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City to hold special meeting tonight (Thursday)


By Judy Reed

This City of Cedar Springs will hold a special meeting on Thursday, June 29, at 7 p.m. at City Hall, to take care of some last minute business before the new fiscal year starts on July 1.

Action items include voting on purchasing a new radar speed sign for the city; Morley Park pavilion rental and electricity at the pavilion; and a motion to approve the Library Services Agreement, Grant Area District revision.

According to City Manager Mike Womack, the radar sign would be portable and could be moved around the City, wherever there was a need.

“The reasoning behind the radar sign is that we have seen the Sheriff Department’s radar sign in action and it absolutely does result in slower traffic, which is safer for the public,” explained Womack. “By having our own sign, we could be quicker to respond to citizen complaints of speeding traffic and we would also have the benefit of the resulting data that the sign takes in while its measuring traffic speed. This data could then be used to help direct when/where Sheriff intervention might be needed but it could also be used for economic development reasons such as knowing how many cars go past a certain place during a day or week.”

He added that the radar sign is also part of his ongoing initiative to make the streets safer for pedestrians overall. “We are also considering pedestrian crossing signs in the downtown area and we will be repainting the crosswalk paint on the asphalt,” he explained.

The radar signs they will be looking at range from a low of $1,785 to $3,165.

There are also several discussion items on the agenda, including choices of several different logos to use on the Elm Street garage that people walking or riding on the White Pine Trail would see; pedestrian crosswalk signs; and whether they can inscribe “Red Flannel Town” on the new clocktower at the corner of Main and W. Maple, by the library.

 

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