SHERIDAN — Members of Sheridan’s Village Council are determined to make some improvements to the village’s park despite being recently turned down for a state grant that would have helped finance the project.
Park improvements, along with many other items on the village’s tentative budget for fiscal year 2013-2014, were discussed at the council’s meeting Tuesday evening.
Originally, plans called for five new picnic tables at the park, all set on cement bases to facilitate easier groundskeeping. Because the grant didn’t come through as hoped, the number of tables will likely be reduced to two or three next spring, with more being added in subsequent years.
The tables will be of the steel variety, coated with a heavy duty, vandalism-resistant epoxy. According to Village President Susan Wyckoff-McFarland, the council decided to go with the steel tables over the less expensive wood variety because of vandalism concerns.
“Our first concern is that (with the wooden tables) people would carve their names in them,” Wyckoff-McFarland said.
Assistant Village Superintendent Ed Lingeman echoed Wyckoff-McFarland’s sentiment by noting that the wooden picnic tables currently at the park have seen more than their fair share of carving.
“We’ve got some down there now if anyone wants to get educated over what went on over the summer,” said Lingeman, referring to the extensive surface damage that has been done to the picnic tables there.
Councilman Derek Wagner supported the idea of the heavy duty tables, saying, “Let’s start with three of the good ones, then add more over the following years.”
The council tentatively agreed on allocating about $5,000 to the project, which might also include some permanent charcoal grills.
New street lighting for the village also was on the agenda. Lingemen discussed to possibility of replacing some of the old lighting with new, low-draw LED lighting. The energy savings over traditional vapor or mercury lights would be significant.
The council opted to form a committee to look into the best options for the village.
Council members also heard from Sheridan resident Mary Levesq, who asked about the possibility of the village adopting a dog ordinance. According to Levesq, some residents on Sherman Street currently have 14 dogs at their home which are not being properly cared for.
“I stood there and counted them,” Levesq said. “I wanted to see if there’s something that can be implemented. These people previously had dogs that were taken away and when they get to barking, it can be pretty noisy. They had three dogs the last time they were confiscated.”
Councilman Don Nassif noted that, even without a local ordinance, the dog owners might be in violation of Montcalm County animal codes.
“It sounds to me like if they don’t have all those animals licensed, they already may be in violation,” Nassif said.
Wyckoff-McFarland said that the council would look into the matter and address it further at an upcoming meeting.
Finally, the council discussed the possibility of setting aside $2,000 to help with the cost of spraying Pearl Lake for weeds, as well as for reducing the population of geese there.
Currently, the expense of spraying for weeds is provided exclusively by donations from residents living on the lake. Unfortunately, not all lake residents contribute to that fund and shortfalls — such as the one this past summer — leave the lake under-treated. The $2,000 would be set aside to be used only if needed to cover additional expenses.
Wyckoff-McFarland, who lives on the lake, recused herself from discussion on the issue.
The council will continue to develop the budget at upcoming meetings.