Archived Story

Cassopolis determined to progress

Published 9:58pm Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Where there’s a will there’s a way.
That determined phrase came up twice at Cassopolis Village Council March 12, from repairing rutted railroad crossings to developing a Stone Lake beach park.
Dr. Roger Pecina encouraged village officials to obtain price estimates for what it would cost to upgrade the two train crossings with more durable precast concrete due to the amount of truck traffic traversing M-60 and M-62.
“Nothing is going to happen here until it’s privately funded. I don’t know who they are, but I believe there are people who will step up who believe in the community,” said Pecina, who recreated a Sinclair service station overlooking Stone Lake and brought his architectural drawings to add a restaurant to the boat museum in the former Ford dealership which go before village planners at 7 p.m. March 27.
Pecina also broached leasing lake shore to put in a pier for kayak rentals and boat rides.
Trustee Robert Yoder thanked Pecina for improvements made to the village’s tourism profile.
Pioneer Log Cabin Museum will be reopening with its liability insurance issue resolved.
Discussing a beach park, Police Chief Frank Williams and Department of Public Works Superintendent Ron Bass said there is village property in the vicinity of Stone Lake Woods and Camp Baber, but it has been plagued by high water levels which make its accessibility an obstacle.
Village Manager Meg Cluckey suggested the $50,000-a-month Pepsi Project Refresh grant program might be a source of funding for interested citizens, who are also considering a community garden out of concern for the lack of youth activities.

Dowagiac recycler comes calling
Robert Wallace visited the council meeting to answer questions about Cassopolis Recycling, which goes before the planning commission March 27 for a recommendation.
Pro Tem Dianna McGrew cautioned that there is “conflict with what the covenants actually say and what we and Mr. Wallace want to do. Technology, building materials and ground cover have changed since they were drawn up more than 20 years ago.”
Wallace wants to erect two buildings in the industrial park.
“There’s no grants here, no money from the state, no stimulus,” Wallace said, “just people who want to put money into the community. I’ve been bombarded with calls from young men and women who want jobs. I’ve been blown away by the number of companies that want to do e-scrap — computers, so they don’t go into landfills. There needs to be some changes to the covenants if you want more business to come into your community.”
“It would be great for this community if more people wanted to bring business here,” McGrew said. “Mr. Wallace’s plan is very ‘green.’ We’re not the overseers. He’s licensed by EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) and has to get state permits.”

Parcel deeded to church for hall
The council agreed to transfer ownership for a dollar of a parcel adjacent to Community Baptist Church so it can expand with a fellowship hall.
“It’s a property we’re currently maintaining, so we have expenditures associated with it, but we don’t receive any tax revenue from what is an eyesore,” Cluckey said.
“It gets it off the tax roll and off our responsibility,” agreed McGrew, who offered to prepare the quit-claim deed.
Meeting during a tornado watch, the council voted to adopt the county’s hazard mitigation plan to qualify for FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) funding and training for Cluckey, Williams and Bass.
“It’s better to err on the side of caution,” Cluckey said.
“We have mutual aid with police. We’re working on an equipment memo of understanding with Dowagiac.”
Trustee Cynthia Ash announced plans for a Memorial Day veterans recognition and displays from 1:30 to 3 p.m. after the parade behind Village Hall downtown.

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