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Tag Archive | "city of cedar springs"

Former city employee becomes Mayor


Jerry Hall is the new Mayor of Cedar Springs, and Pam Conley is Mayor Pro-tem. Post photo by J. Reed.

Jerry Hall is the new Mayor of Cedar Springs, and Pam Conley is Mayor Pro-tem. Post photo by J. Reed.

by Judy Reed

The Cedar Springs City Council, made up of four new members and three returning members, chose a new Mayor and Mayor Pro-tem at their meeting on Thursday, November 13.

Four new members were sworn in—Rose Powell, Molly Nixon, Perry Hopkins and Pam Conley. Conley, who previously served, lost her seat last year in a close election.

Three members of the Council were nominated to be Mayor: Jerry Hall, Pamela  Conley and Dan Clark. Conley declined the nomination. The Council first voted on Hall, and the motion passed 5-2, with only Hopkins and Bob Truesdale dissenting.

Nominations were then opened for Mayor Pro-tem. Both Clark and Conley were nominated. Clark was voted in 4-3, but then refused the nomination. The vote was then taken on Conley, and it was unanimous.

Hall is retired from the City of Cedar Springs, where he was formerly the Superintendent of Public Works. He also served on the City Planning Commission and six years on the Cedar Springs Board of Education.

“I appreciate the confidence put in me, and I hope I can do it justice,” said Hall. “I think we can all move forward. That’s the direction we need to go,” he added.

Conley also previously served on the Cedar Springs Board of Education before coming to City Council. She thanked everyone for electing her back to the Council. “You seem to want me here,” she said. She also urged people to come to her with concerns. “Please talk to me about what you want,” she said.

One thing that Hall made clear to the Council and the audience was that he was going to be strict about enforcing time limits for public speaking, as well as the content. “I will not tolerate personal attacks on Council members or city employees,” he remarked. Hall had told the audience early on that if they happened, he would adjourn the meeting.

 

 

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City gets second warning siren 


 

By Judy Reed

 

When the new siren was installed in North Park in 2011, the City of Cedar Springs  knew that although it could be heard as far as White Creek to the west, and Ritchie to the east, to the south it only reached to just north of Dio Drive. Former City Manager Christine Burns said at the time that the city hoped to one day qualify for another grant for a siren on the south end of the city.

That day has arrived.

The Cedar Springs City Council approved a second emergency warning siren for the community at its regular meeting last Thursday evening. According to current City Manager Thad Taylor, the siren would be placed directly behind the city’s lift station, near Cedar Springs Middle School, on Northland Drive, just north of 16 Mile Road. He said that West Shore Services, the siren provider, used computer modeling to determine that this site, in conjunction with the siren at North Park, would provide nearly 100 percent coverage for our community.

The total cost for the siren is $20,600, but the City will only need to pay for half of that. The Kent County Local Planning Team awarded the city a grant for $10,300 to assist in the purchasing and installation of the siren. The City had budgeted $10,000 for the project, and will move $300 from its Repair and Maintenance Supply Expense fund to its Capital Expense fund to complete the amount needed for purchase.

West Shore Services is Kent County’s preferred siren provider, and they also put in the siren in North Park in 2011.

While the siren in North Park goes off at noon per the city’s tradition, the new one on the south end of town will not. However, Kent County does test the sirens on the first Friday of every month at noon, so it will go off at that time.

According to Taylor, the siren has already been installed, but is not yet operational.

 

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Four new members voted on to City Council


Perry Hopkins

Perry Hopkins

Pamela Conley

Pamela Conley

 

Molly Nixon

Molly Nixon

 

Rose Powell

Rose Powell

By Judy Reed

 

Voters in the City of Cedar Springs cleaned house Tuesday and voted in four new faces to the City Council.

Perry Hopkins, Pamela Conley, Molly Nixon and Rose Powell all won seats. Leaving the council will be Mayor Mark Fankhauser, Mayor Pro-tem Patricia Troost, and Ashley Bremmer. Ken Benham decided not to run again. Both Troost and Bremmer were up for recall.

Conley (382 votes) and Hopkins (325) beat out Fankhauser (311) for two seats. Nixon (310) ran against Bremmer (295), and Powell (346) ran against Troost (270) under the new recall law.

The candidates ran in two groups. Signs around town urged people to vote for either Conley, Nixon and Powell, or Fankhauser, Troost, Bremmer and Hopkins.

A little over 33 percent of registered voters voted in the election.

Winners of this election will join Dan Clark, Jerry Hall, and Bob Truesdale as members of the City Council at the November 13 meeting.

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Saying goodbye to a piece of history


The building at 95 N. Main (on the right) is set for demolition Thursday morning, September 18, to make way for the new Cedar Springs Brewing Company. See a similar photo taken sometime around 1912-1913 on page 3. Photo by J. Reed.

The building at 95 N. Main (on the right) is set for demolition Thursday morning, September 18, to make way for the new Cedar Springs Brewing Company. See a similar photo taken sometime around 1912-1913 on page 3. Photo by J. Reed.

By Judy Reed

 

By the time you read this, work will probably have begun on the demolition of the building at 95 N. Main—a building that has occupied that site since 1890. The building is being razed to make way for a new chapter in the history of that site and in the town, with the building of a brand new business—Cedar Springs Brewing Company.

Photo of Main Street sometime around 1912-1913, 95 N. Main is on the right.

Photo of Main Street sometime around 1912-1913, 95 N. Main is on the right.

The front view of the building located at 95 N. Main St. Post photo by L. Allen.

The front view of the building located at 95 N. Main St. Post photo by L. Allen.

Before the current building, a hotel known as the Wager House sat on the northeastern part of the property at the SW corner of Main and Maple, in the late 1870s, early 1880s. A residence was located on the western portion of the property. According to the Cedar Springs Story, these two structures were spared in the big fire of 1884. It reported that in an excerpt from the Clipper newspaper, “the cinders were carried over the Cedar Springs House (NW corner of Main and Maple) and the Wager House (SW corner of Main and Maple)…” The hotel was reportedly demolished sometime between 1884 and 1890.

According to assessor’s records, the current two-story building was constructed in 1890 on the NE portion of the property. It was used as a flour mill, with animal feed and hay storage. By 1899, it was used as a grocery store, and an ice house and meat storage area were added to the southern portion of the building. Over the years, there were several groceries located there. The Cedar Springs Story reported that  Ed M. Smith had a grocery there, followed by Thomas & Bassett groceries, Esch’s groceries, and it later became an I.G.A. store, between 1950 and 1955. The rear of the building was added between 1950 and 1960, and the second floor was used for apartments. The residence behind the building was removed between 1960 and 1967 to make way for more parking.

On the SE portion of the property, formerly 87 N. Main, was a large lumber storage building in 1929. It was removed during the 1940s to create an open gravel lot.

In 1982, Cedar Springs Auto Supply, a NAPA dealer moved in and occupied 95 N. Main until 2009. A judge ordered the business to vacate the premises after it was condemned by the city for an inoperable central heating system and Kent County foreclosed due to unpaid taxes. The City of Cedar Springs then exercised its right to buy the building before it went up for auction.

The building has been vacant since then, with remodeling being cost prohibitive. Many residents have called it an eyesore, and are glad to see something being done with it. Asbestos shingles were removed last week in preparation for the demolition.

David Ringler, owner of The Cedar Springs Brewing Company, said that they would try to save some pieces of the building to use in the new one. He has updates on the progress of the new facility on the CS Brewing Company’s facebook page.

Stay tuned as a brand new business takes over that corner—and hopefully stimulates some growth in business in downtown Cedar Springs.

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Cedar Creek cleanup April 26


N-Cedar-Creek-cleanup-promo-web

It’s time again for the annual Cedar Creek Cleanup/Earth Day Celebration in Cedar Springs.

The 7th Annual Celebration will be held on Saturday, April 26, from10:00 a.m. until noon. The city will give away commemorative t-shirts to the first 50 participants who register for this event. The participants will meet at the Fire Barn at W. Maple and Main on Saturday morning at 10:00 a.m. to receive their clean-up assignments and shirts. Pizza will be available at noon for all participants.

An e-waste collection trailer, staffed by Cedar Springs Rotarians, will also be available behind City Hall, for anyone wishing to dispose of electronic waste, including computers and old televisions.  Computer hard drives will be wiped and/or destroyed by Comprenew.  The e-waste trailer will be open from 8:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. (or until it is full).

The City of Cedar Springs Police Department will conduct an auction of surplus items, including 15 bicycles, beginning at 1:30 PM.

Registration forms are available on the City of Cedar Springs website at http://www.cityofcedarsprings.org. Pre-registration is not mandatory to participate in the cleanup. However, it will allow them to assign clean-up locations ahead of time as well as purchase trash bags and pizza.

Please call 696-1330 or email Rich Pajak at adminasst@cityofcedarsprings.org with any questions.

 

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Spring cleanups start soon


By Judy Reed

 

SPR-Spring-clean-upsAs the weather warms up and residents begin to spring clean, some municipalities are offering drop off sites to help get rid of the clutter. Check out the list below to see when it’s offered in your area.

Algoma Township: Spring cleanup days are Wednesday, April 23, through Saturday, April 26. Dumpsters will be available at the township hall at 10531 Algoma Ave. Hours will be Wednesday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday, 8 a.m to 3 p.m. No shovel offs or loose trash allowed. No liquids, no hazardous waste (no paint, oil, fuel, gasoline etc.) No brush or yard waste, no cement.

All tires must be cut in half, propane and fuel oil tanks must be cut in half. Fencing must be folded or rolled up. Barrels must have one end open or be full of holes. Will also collect E-Waste at the same location (cell phones, computers, TVs, stereos, speakers, etc.). Call the township for more info 866-1583.

City of Cedar Springs: The city will collect E-waste on Saturday, April 26, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., during the Earth Day cleanup. A dumpster will be located behind City Hall and manned by Rotarians. Bring all your electronic waste for disposal such as computers, monitors, keyboards, cell phones, radios, stereos, laptops, VCRs, TVs, modems, power cords, etc. Almost any electronic item, working or non-working, with a cord or battery, will be accepted. Computer hard drives will be wiped and destroyed.

The annual brush pickup will be Monday, April 28. Please have brush out by 6:00 a.m. and neatly stacked as close to the curb as possible. No brush larger than six inches, tree removals or stumps will be picked up. They will make one pass through town.

There is no longer a spring trash cleanup date. Check with your waste hauler for pickup.

Also note that the city will be flushing City hydrants on April 25. To avoid staining laundry, allow water to run until clear before washing white or light colored clothing.

Courtland Township: No spring cleanup, they have a fall cleanup in September.

Nelson Township/Sand Lake: Spring cleanup is scheduled for Saturday, June 14, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 5th and Cherry Streets, near the water tower in Sand Lake. We accept appliances, sheet metal, auto parts and engines (liquid drained), aluminum and copper wire, fencing (flattened and folded), mattresses, furniture, carpeting, clothing, glass, etc. No garbage please. No hazardous or toxic waste. No yard clippings or brush. No shovel offs of shingles and drywall. Will also collect E-Waste and metal at the same location. Please call the township for more info at 636-5332.

Sand Lake: Sand Lake will have a brush only pickup April 17-25. Pile brush along side of the road. See Nelson Township (above) for regular spring cleanup.

Solon Township: Spring cleanup dates have been set for two consecutive Saturdays, May 3 and May 10, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 15185 Algoma. One 5×8 trailer with 48-inch sides or one pickup box per household. All items should be boxed or bagged, 45 pounds maximum. Tires must be cut in four pieces, car or light truck only, limit four. Appliances such as washers, dryers, etc. will be accepted, but not appliances that used Freon  or other toxic chemicals. Call township for more info at 696-1718.

Spencer Township: Call township for info at 984-0035.

 

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Police seek info on vandals


N-Vandalism1Vandals hit several areas in the City of Cedar Springs with black spray paint sometime after 10 p.m. Sunday evening, February 16, but before 6 a.m. Monday morning.

Vandals defaced the south side of  The Springs Church, 135 N. Grant Street with the numbers 666, an upside down cross, a series of letters, and foul language.

N-Vandalism2They also targeted a car parked in the public lot behind the Kent Theatre; the old Cooper’s Dry cleaning building at 30 E. Elm Street; and street signs at Oak and Park.

If anyone has any information on this malicious destruction of property, they should call Cedar Springs Police at 696-1311. Police also ask the public to keep a watchful eye out for possible malicious activity.

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Keep sidewalks and hydrants clear of snow


Homeowners should keep fire hydrants clear and sidewalks shoveled. Photo courtesy of Howard City Police Department.

Homeowners should keep fire hydrants clear and sidewalks shoveled. Photo courtesy of Howard City Police Department.

We received messages from both the City of Cedar Springs and Howard City Police asking for people to keep sidewalks and hydrants clear of snow.

The City of Cedar Springs has an ordinance that requires homeowners and businesses to keep the sidewalks in front of their homes clear of snow and ice. If it happens during the day, the person has 12 hours after it stops to remove it, and if it happens overnight, they have until 6 p.m. the next day.

“The City could clear it and charge for it, or write a ticket if they chose to,” explained City Manager Thad Taylor. “But we haven’t wanted to do that with the harsh weather conditions we’ve had,” he explained, noting the amount of snow and below zero temps. “We understand that the weather has been brutal, but now that the temperature is climbing back up, we just need people to voluntarily take care of it.”

Taylor noted that the main reason for the ordinance is for safety reasons. Besides the obvious issue of slipping and falling, Taylor pointed out that if sidewalks aren’t clear, pedestrians must walk on the street. “If pedestrians and drivers are vying for the same space on the road, bad things could happen,” he said.

He also pointed out that there are some places where there is bone dry concrete. “A lot of people are taking care of it and we truly appreciate homeowners and business owners who are keeping their sidewalks clear,” said Taylor.

Fire hydrants also need to be clear of ice and snow, to help local firefighters in case of an emergency.

 

 

 

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Year in Review: Most controversial story: City approves new logo


This is the new logo for the City of Cedar Springs.

The new logo for the City of Cedar Springs.

 

The story that sparked the most extreme responses in the community (and still is) was when the City of Cedar Springs voted to approve a new logo and tagline on November 14.

“Cedar Springs—Est. 1871 Cherishing our heritage, embracing our future” will now be the city’s official slogan that will appear on city-related items.

It replaces the tagline “A great place to live, work, and play” and the Red Flannel logo, which the city stopped using in August of 2012 after receiving a letter from the Red Flannel Festival of intent to file suit for copyright infringement. Subsequent meetings between the city manager and festival yielded no results on an agreement.

A committee made up of members of the community took submissions from the public for the new logo, and a designer worked up three versions for the city to approve. The council saw the logo and voted on it the same evening. They voted 4 to 3 to approve the new logo, with Bob Truesdale and new members Jerry Hall and Dan Clark voting no.

 

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Personal property tax change


A change in the personal property tax law for 2014 could give some small business owners some relief.

Effective December 31, 2013, commercial and industrial personal property with a combined true cash value of less than $80,000, is eligible for an exemption—but the exemption must be filed by February 10.

True cash value is the market value of all personal property owned by, leased by or in the possession of the owner or related entity, within a local tax-collecting unit.

To qualify for the exemption, the taxpayer must file the “eligible personal property exemption affidavit” with the local city or township. If it is not filed on time, the taxpayer will not receive the exemption. The affidavit form is available online at Michigan.gov and on the City of Cedar Springs website.

Taxpayers who qualify by filing on time, are not required to also file a personal property statement. But they still must maintain books and records relating to the description, date of purchase or acquisition, purchase or lease price, and value of all the industrial and commercial property for four years. They must make these records available to the local assessor, county equalization department, and the Department of Treasury upon request.

If the assessor believes that the property is not eligible, the assessor may deny the claim and notify the taxpayer of the reasons for the denial. A taxpayer may then appeal the denial before the Board of Review. Failure to file an exemption on time does not qualify as a denial and cannot be appealed.

Anyone who fraudulently claims an exemption for personal property would be guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment of 30 days to 6 months and/or a fine of $500 to $2,500.

Taxpayers not eligible for the exemption must still file a personal property statement by February 20. Failure to file either a personal property statement or an exemption affidavit will result in an estimated assessment.

For more info, go to Michigan.gov/treasury.

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