Archived Story

Pathway to Cass campus

Published 10:15am Monday, December 21, 2009

Dowagiac Daily News

CASSOPOLIS – Cass County commissioners Thursday night appropriated $43,812.84 from the public improvement fund for the pathway connecting Cassopolis to the county campus along M-62.

The county began building the campus in 1970 with construction of what is now Cass District Library.

In the 20 years since 1989, the county built the sheriff’s office and jail, a public health facility, animal control and, five years, ago, the Law and Courts Building.

The county also sold five acres to a private developer to facilitate construction of the Department of Human Services.

There was no pedestrian or bicycle route for customers of these facilities. Existing sidewalk ended at Hilton Street.

Grants and Project Manager Sandy Gower met with officials from each of these facilities to determine that there are 110 pedestrian round trips per month, not including inmates released from jail who lack transportation.

Gower met with Joe Bellina of the Cass County Road Commission, which had some funding available through the federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) program.

This funding can pay for 80 percent of the construction cost of an eight-food-wide pathway from the existing sidewalk that ends south of Hilton Street to the library for phase one.

Phase two, $60,000, completes the link to the 2004 Law and Courts Building.

The CMAQ program will not pay for design and engineering.

To pursue this project, the Board of Commissioners on April 2 approved a contract with Wightman and Associates Inc. for design of a pathway from south of Hilton Street to the library on a time-and-material basis for a cost not to exceed $10,000.

Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) initially withheld approval, contending the pathway needed to be 10 feet wide, as approved by the Federal Highway Administration.
Wightman and Associates incurred additional costs of $5,667.50 above and beyond initial design work to win MDOT approval. Sen. Ron Jelinek’s office became involved in support of the project.

MDOT bid the first phase Dec. 4.

The lowest construction bid is $120,145.34. The county needs to allocate $24,145.34 for its share of construction costs, plus $14,000 for engineering.

Commissioners approved a $1,000-a-month professional services agreement for Jan. 1, 2010-May 31, 2011, with consultant Robert Smith under the regional homeland security grant program.

As reported Dec. 4 as an ad hoc committee recommendation, the full commission decided to increase the non-union pay table by $908 effective Jan. 1, 2010.

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