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Tag Archive | "heart of Cedar Springs"

Year in Review: Cedar Springs gets new City Manager


City Manager Mike Womack

City Manager Mike Womack

It took nine months, but the City of Cedar Springs finally has a new full time City Manager overseeing operations at City Hall. Mike Womack, 34, started in his new position August 1. He filled the spot vacated by Thad Taylor, who left the post for a position in Manistee.

Womack was an executive intern for the Village of Lake Orion, Michigan, which is located on the east side of the state. He was also a Graduate Assistant in the City Manager’s office in the City of Eastpointe, Michigan, and an Attorney at Womack & Womack P.C., in Shelby Township.

Longtime City Clerk Linda Christiansen (formerly Branyan) was interim City Manager until June, when the City Council appointed former Wyoming City Manager Barb VanDuren to be interim City Manager.

Christiansen gave her notice at the same meeting at which VanDuren was appointed, and retired July 1 after 22 years. She was replaced in the interim by Christine Witt, and then permanently by Rebecca Newland.

Treasurer Deb Brunett left for another position and was replaced by Darla Falcon. The city is also currently looking for a deputy treasurer.

CBDT donates property to city

In other city news, the city now owns all of the land in the Heart of Cedar Springs project after it was officially donated to them by the Community Building Development Team and CS Manufacturing.

Over the past three years, the CBDT, comprised of two dozen organizations and businesses in Cedar Springs, along with dozens of individual volunteers, has acquired six parcels equaling approximately 7.5 acres of land through a donation from CS Manufacturing, and from land that was bought at a substantially reduced price from Rob and Jodi Coxon. The donated land connects to the City-owned property on the northwest corner of Maple and Main Streets where the library is being constructed.

The entire area will be part of the ongoing development that will be known as the “Heart of Cedar Springs.”

For many years the plan has included a boardwalk/walking trail along Cedar Creek and bridges over the creek. Other features of the Recreation Plan include an amphitheater, which is the CBDT’s next project, as well as a Community Center and Recreation Facility.

Donating the land to the City not only benefits the community, but it also opens many new avenues for grant-funded projects.

“The City is grateful for all the hard work already put in by the CBDT on the Heart of Cedar Springs project and we look forward to working together to make downtown a better experience for everyone,” commented City Manager MikeWomack.

The CBDT has met monthly over the last three years and continues to meet on the 3rd Tuesday of each month (except December) in the board room of Hilltop School at 6 p.m.

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Sculpture installed in Heart of Cedar Springs


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A unique metal sculpture, made by artist Steve Anderson, of Anderson’s Metal Sculpture, was installed last week on the property behind where the new library is being built, at the corner of Main and W. Maple Street.

“This sculpture, donated by the Community Building Development Team, will add the cultural touch that enhances the educational nature of all the projects planned for this ten-acre site,” said Library Director Donna Clark. “It will add culture and beauty within the areas of the rain gardens and near the planned library building.”

The sculpture is a stainless steel, artistic representation of cattails among dragonflies. It will provide a point of special interest for children and adults alike, and will enhance the area that is home to the historic, Cedar Springs natural flowing spring.

Anderson is the same artist that also created the metal hawk sculptures at Cedar Springs High School and the athletic stadium.

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Heart of Cedar Springs growing


View of the new library as of Wednesday, Sept. 7. Photo from Community Building Development Team Facebook page.

View of the new library as of Wednesday, Sept. 7. Photo from Community Building Development Team Facebook page.

If you’ve driven down Main Street recently, you can’t help but notice that the walls are up on the new Cedar Springs Public Library at the corner of Main and Maple Streets. It’s coming along quickly! Also installed on Thursday was a new metal dragonfly sculpture in the area near the flowing well (behind the library), which will be part of the new rain garden area. Watch next week’s paper for more on that piece, created by local artist Steve Anderson.

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Runners rest in Cedar Springs


 

Running teams represented include JFR (Grand Rapids), All Night Express (Kalamazoo), Cross Train (Macomb Township/Detroit), Rat Pig Lover Railroad (Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo) along with CTA workers.

Running teams represented include JFR (Grand Rapids), All Night Express (Kalamazoo), Cross Train (Macomb Township/Detroit), Rat Pig Lover Railroad (Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo) along with CTA workers.

The Cedar Springs White Pine Trail staging area provided a resting and revitalization point for the 2016 Fred 200/100 Mile Running Relay participants on Saturday, August 6. The overnight relay included 36 “spurs” or legs each ranging from two to 9.5 miles in distance, spanning the entire Fred Meijer White Pine Trail. It began on Friday, August 5, at 6 a.m. in Comstock Park and continued up to Cadillac and back again. The 60 percent paved and 40 percent dirt trail served as the course for 51 teams participating this year.

Carolee Cole, Community Building Development Team (CBDT) volunteer board member and Lindsay Woodard, a member of the West Michigan Trails & Greenway Coalition and marathon runner, recently met during a volunteer CBDT cleanup project of Cedar Creek. The two ladies immediately began discussing how the Cedar Springs Community might support The Fred Meijer Relay runners as they passed through our Red Flannel town.

Runner nears transfer station during 2016 Fred 200/100 mile running relay on the White Pine Trail last Saturday.

Runner nears transfer station during 2016 Fred 200/100 mile running relay on the White Pine Trail last Saturday.

West Michigan Trails and Greenways Coalition Executive Director John Morrison was on hand to see for himself not only his organization’s runners but also the development of the “Heart of Cedar Springs.” CBDT board member John Ensley showed Morrison where the North Country Trail, White Pine Trail, and the Fishing Line all intersect in the city owned property located on the northwest section of Main and Maple Streets. Morrison explained how unique and valuable this type of crossover is for all outdoor and trail enthusiasts. An additional asset includes Cedar Creek, the second largest and one of the coldest trout habitats in Michigan, which runs along these trail areas and is nestled right in the heart of Cedar Springs. A CBDT proposed project includes a boardwalk and pathway running along Cedar Creek from Main Street near the new Library location out to 17 Mile Road.

“The CBDT is always looking for opportunities to showcase our community and extend a friendly welcome,” explained Cole. Fellow CBDT Members Mark Laws, John Ensley, Autumn Mattson, and David Ringler were quick to jump on board with Cole to pull together the people and provide a bit of cheer, shaded resting areas, drinks, and food for those participating in this year’s run.

Laws was quick to thank the many businesses that provided food, drink, ice, a tent, workers, and chairs. “Our local business owners generously supported the event,” shared Laws.

Community member and 13-mile relay participant Teri Marsman was quick to thank all those involved by saying,  “This is a classy way to welcome folks to Cedar!” She went on to say, “My kids have been dropping change into Librarian Donna Clark’s ‘new library change jar’ for 16 years. Our family is so excited to see the library actually being built and know more good things are on the way for our community.”

CTA staff and student athletes welcome runners to refreshment stand

CTA staff and student athletes welcome runners to refreshment stand

CTA Athletic Director, Autumn Mattson asked CTA Cross Country Coach Miss Davies for help from her team distributing refreshments on Saturday as runners headed toward the final stretch of the relay.

“We were happy to help because it is the right thing to do,” said Casen Armstrong, a member of the CTA Cross Country Team.

Gail Zemmol, JFR team runner and captain, was quick to add, “Cedar was our best stop and we are very grateful.”

Ensley and Laws responded by promising an even better Cedar Springs welcome for next year’s event.

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Library groundbreaking next Saturday, July 9


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Years of plans and dreams are finally coming true—Cedar Springs is really going to have a new, much needed library building! The Library Board chose the contractor at their June 27 meeting, and a groundbreaking is scheduled for Saturday, July 9 at 5:00 p.m. near the Cedar Springs Fire Station, at the corner of Main and W. Maple Street. Everyone is invited. See the ad on page 11 and watch the Library website and Facebook Page for activities being planned for this event.

You may have read in The Post or The Bugle that over 900 people of all ages have signed up for the Library’s Summer Reading Program. This growth, along with the significantly increased use of the Library in general, has taken place in spite of not having adequate room. Your Library Staff is persistent regardless of the obstacles.

The current library building has only 2,016 square feet. The new library will have 10,016 square feet, a well-deserved treat to the citizens of Cedar Springs and surrounding communities.

Library Director Donna Clark is excited about what this groundbreaking means for Cedar Springs. “I have the distinct privilege of being the Library Director of our community library at this historic moment of groundbreaking, but I do not stand alone,” she said. “I’m only one, standing on the foundation prepared from the early 1800s to this present day, by a long line of educators, professionals, town folk, volunteers, and enthusiastic people of vision and hope. I celebrate with you who have served your local library as library employees and board members, and with our great City, who is walking this journey with us. I love it that we are building a whole City block of beauty and culture for future generations.”

There are new developments every week because the Library Board and several committees are meeting regularly to accept the bids of contractors and subcontractors, to choose materials, and to keep up with all of the details that require timely attention. “One of the most significant contributions of time during the past two years has come from Duane McIntyre, who will continue to serve as the Project Construction Manager at no charge. This represents a huge savings to the donors and citizens of our communities,” said Community Building Development Team Chair Kurt Mabie. “Many others have also contributed hundreds of hours to reach this milestone so that this dream could come true. Thank you to everyone! These gifts of time are extraordinarily meaningful and are greatly appreciated.”

A finance committee, made up of a good mix of local, respected professionals, is keeping track of the donations that are being made to the Community Building Development Team (CBDT) and the Cedar Springs Public Library. Donations for the new building and its contents are still very much needed and greatly appreciated.

This new library building is just one facility planned for the Heart of Cedar Springs, thanks to the CBDT and the Cedar Springs City Council and Planning Commission. They have all brought their influence to bear on raising funds and negotiating with governmental entities, as well as making sure the right people are available to support the many needs of such a large undertaking. Kent County is a wonderful place to live, thanks to a history of good leadership and smart planning. What is happening in Cedar Springs fits perfectly into the scheme of friendly, up-and-coming communities throughout Kent County. The value of these projects to the residents and businesses of Cedar Springs, and to all of northern Kent County, cannot be overestimated.

The Heart of Cedar Springs will include the following projects that are critical to the continued growth of Cedar Springs.

A library, designed and developed as a place to gather, a place where educational opportunities can be extended, a place where a community can meet, grow and learn together.

An amphitheater where outdoor plays, musicals, movies, concerts and more will fill the summer days and evenings for residents, as well as a place of respite for White Pine Trail and North Country Trail enthusiasts.

Rain Gardens and a Sculpture are a part of the continual beautification of Cedar Creek and its historic flowing spring, which will provide multiple opportunities for several school districts to collaborate with science experiments, and participate in research that can benefit Michigan water way protection and development. The new library will be a great source and meeting place for these classes.

A Boardwalk and Bridges along the Creek, initially running from Main Street to the White Pine Trail but eventually spanning through to Riggle Park and 17 Mile Road to be enjoyed by walkers, nature enthusiasts, and fishermen.

A Community Center that can be used as a FEMA crisis center, as well as provide a beautiful venue for wedding and retirement receptions, and many other community and personal celebrations and gatherings.

A Recreation and Fitness Center where the Parks and Recreation Department, various other recreational and fitness organizations, schools, and individual residents can focus on health and wellness as a community.

All of north Kent County will benefit and appreciate these facilities and open spaces. The value they bring to the Cedar Springs Community will be a legacy for years to come. Please get involved now to be part of this legacy.

Tax deductible donations can be made out to the Community Building Development Team and sent to treasurer, Sue Mabie, 15022 Ritchie Ave, Cedar Springs, Michigan 49319.

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CBDT purchases 157 N. Main


The home at 157 N. Main belonged to Christine Stone. She sold it to the Community Building Development Team to support their beautification plan for that area of the city.

The home at 157 N. Main belonged to Christine Stone. She sold it to the Community Building Development Team to support their beautification plan for that area of the city.

The Community Building Development Team (CBDT) recently purchased another piece of property that they hope will beautify what some are calling the “heart of Cedar Springs.”
The property, at 157 N. Main Street, borders the north side of Cedar Creek at Main St. It is just north of where the new library will be built (at Main and Maple Streets). The house that has sat there for many years will be razed by local excavator, Rob Rowland of Rowland Excavating, in the next few months.

According to the CBDT, the property was purchased when the owner, Christine Stone, reached out to the CBDT Board and offered the property for less than its value, in an effort to support the further development and beautification of Cedar Springs. They said that making this property part of the adjoining land that will soon house the Library, Amphitheater, Rain Gardens, Boardwalk and Community Building will add to the visibility and beauty of Cedar Creek to visitors and locals, and expand the parks area available for relaxing and enjoying our beautiful city.

This is the latest in a series of initiatives by the CBDT to retain the small-town character of Cedar Springs, incorporate natural features and enhance characteristics that already define our community. They are assisting in the construction of buildings and spaces where the greater Cedar Springs community can gather for cultural, educational, recreational, commercial and family/community events.

The CBDT is a non-profit 501c3 organization comprised of community volunteers. “The group is seeking all members of the community to ‘Jump on Board’ and help to shape the future,” said Kurt Mabie, CBDT President. “The group meets on the third Tuesday of each month in the Board Room of Hilltop School at 6 pm. All are welcome!”

More information can be found at www.cscommunitycenter.org or like Cedar Springs Community Building Development Team on Facebook.

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