LAKEVIEW — During Shay Gallagher’s interview for Lakeview village manager, he told the Village Council he planned to hit the ground running.
Since accepting the position and starting the job less than one month ago, that’s exactly what he has done.
Gallagher, 27, has started looking at capital improvement projects — such as updating the village’s water tower and replacing water and sewer mains — for a capital improvement plan he is creating.
“I would like to do some infrastructure projects. Those have been overlooked over the past few years, and we have some funding available and also seek some grants,” he said. “I think that stuff really needs to happen.”
Gallagher is also focusing on the village budget — the new fiscal year starts March 1 — and he’s been working on shoreline development with Prein & Newhof, adesign and engineering firm from Grand Rapids. The plan could potentially be finalized at the next Lakeview Downtown Development Authority meeting Wednesday.
Gallagher is also working on is changing the parking rules for the public parking lot on Washington and Second streets, behind the Post Office. Currently, anyone can park in the lot at any time, but Gallagher said the current parking situation has been causing problems with the Department of Public Works when they try to clear the snow and have to plow around cars.
The new parking rules would designate spots along Second Street for overnight parking.
Gallagher also has the proposed annexation of Cato Township on his radar. Part of his plan of resuming the project is trying to understand what former village manager Jake Eckholm was working on and why the proposal failed.
“I think in the past there hasn’t been such a great working relationship (with Cato Township), and that really predates me,” Gallagher said. “I’d like to fully understand that and see if that’s something we can repair and work together on this because ultimately I think the annexation is not a land grab or a tax-based grab. It’s facilitating business growth, and I think that is something that needs to be put forefront, especially in Montcalm County.”
Gallagher has also been visiting local businesses, especially local coffee shops and McDonald’s. He hopes to understand business needs to create a business retention and recruitment plan.
Gallagher said the diversity of the projects he is working and will continue to work on is his favorite part of the job.
“Every day is different,” he said. “It could be going out with the DPW to a sewer blockage to understand that process to meeting with the engineering contractors that we have or working with (Police) Chief (Darin) Dood going on ride alongs with him.”
He enjoys the community of Lakeview, which reminds him of his hometown of Elk Rapids, just north of Traverse City. He said while the new job has been a lot of work, it’s less difficult than he expected and it’s been easy for him to acclimate.
“We’re really excited to have him here, our council is, our town is, I am,” declared Village Clerk and Finance Director Pam Main. “It feels like he’s been here a long time.”
Being exclusively Lakeview’s manager — as opposed to the former Lakeview-Stanton dual manager position — has allowed Gallagher to focus on the details. He feels like it’s a greater asset to residents to have all his time focused on Lakeview.
“Ultimately, what we’re trying to do here in Lakeview is just make it a quality community where people are really honored and excited to be from,” Gallagher said. “I’m here to facilitate what (residents) want and follow through on their needs and make sure everything that they would like to see I would like to facilitate that happening.”
Getting to know Shay Gallagher