City of Greenville aims for a few upgrades

By Mike Taylor • Last Updated 11:13 am on Wednesday, September 04, 2013

GREENVILLE — Landscaping and road repair issues topped the list of topics addressed by the Greenville City Council at its Tuesday evening meeting.

Paula Christiansen of the Friends of Forest Home Cemetery brought to the council’s attention what she called the “deplorable” conditions at the cemetery.

“Some sections of the grounds have not been mowed all season,” Christiansen said. “Also, some roads in the cemetery are terrible due to rain washouts. As of this morning, nothing has been done.”

Coincidentally, the topic of city groundskeeping contracts was already on the meeting’s agenda. City Manager George Bosanic explained the groundskeeping service previously contracted for the job had experienced some problems and had gone out of business, shortly before the Danish Festival.

Since then, Bosanic has been negotiating with another company, First Class Seasonal Solutions, of Rockford, to take over the remainder of the contract. First Class Seasonal Solutions had been second lowest bidder when the contracts were awarded earlier this year.

Bosanic explained the cemetery — and a few other areas around the city — had gotten a little overgrown because First Class was asked to first concentrate on mowing the grass at Veterans Park following Danish Festival.

“One of the strategies of Danish Festival is to allow the grass to grow for a couple weeks (at Vets Park) prior to the festival, so it survives the heavy foot traffic,” Bosanic said. “It was already about 6 inches tall, so it looked really bad.”

Bosanic added that the groundskeeping crew was now getting ready to tackle the work at the cemetery.

“We’re doing the best we can considering the circumstances,” he said.

The council unanimously approved awarding the $21,685 contract to First Class Seasonal Solutions.

City road repairs slated for the summer of 2014 were the topic of City Engineer Doug Hinken’s presentation to the council. Hinken showed recently completed designs for the reconstruction of West Oak Street from Ruth Street to Baldwin Street, and South Baldwin Street from West Oak Street to West Washington Street.

The project, which would be completed in two phases, would be funded with a Small Urban Grant Program grant from the State of Michigan. The grant, Hinken said, is available to municipalities with a population between 5,000 and 50,000 residents.

The project calls for areas of Baldwin Street to be milled and repaved along with other improvements.

“On Baldwin it will be complete reconstruction,” Hinken explained. “All the pavement and curb will come out and we’ll make crown adjustments there, too.”

The Baldwin Street project will be phase one. Phase two will include a section of Ruth Street between Bower and Baldwin streets. Phase two would not begin until June 6 in order to allow normal traffic for school buses while school is still in session.

Work there will include some regrading, spot repair of curbs and sidewalk approaches and other improvements.

Hinken also noted that some of the water main within the project area is of the old cast iron variety and prone to frequent breakages.

“It’s at an age where it’s going to happen again,” Hinken said. “We would like to replace it.”

Cost for that replacement, not covered by the state grant, would be approximately $70,000.

Council members voted unanimously to allow Hinken to go forward with the grant process for the project.

In other business, the council opted to purchase a Dodge Caravan to join the city’s public transit bus ranks, rather than another full-size, 22-passenger bus. The van, Bosanic said, would more fully meet the city’s current public transportation needs, while at the same time leaving enough money from a $103,125 state and federal grant to allow for needed improvements at the bus garage.

The van will cost about $40,000 with the remaining funds going for upgrades to the facility, including parking lot repaving and raising the floor there.

Though the van would not be handicap accessible, Bosanic noted the city already has several vehicles which can provide this service.

Finally, Bosanic noted he has received a great deal of communication lately from business interested in setting up industrial and retail operations within city limits. Though nothing has been finalized, Bosanic said the interest should give residents hope that jobs may soon be returning to the area.

“There’s been a lot of preliminary interest,” Bosanic said. “I think there’s good signs for Greenville going forward. We just have to take advantage of the opportunities as they come.”

The city council next meets on Sept. 17.

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