Council calls for DMS road completionPublished 5:21pm Tuesday, June 11, 2013
Dowagiac City Council members Monday night expressed a desire to make the 2005 middle school less isolated by extending Riverside Drive to Mathews Street or building a new road across to Wilbur Hill Road.
Reacting to a tragic shooting near DMS June 3 which canceled school, Second Ward Councilman James Dodd said, “I’ve had some teachers talk to me about what’s got to be done to get a road cut through. They’re afraid something’s going to happen and they’re not going to be able to get out. I talked to Kevin (Anderson, city manager) and Linda Preston (Pokagon Township supervisor) and she said we need to get everybody involved — the city, the schools, county roads, the township, police agencies, the state, whoever — and have a brainstorming session.”
“I think every one of us would agree that road should have been put through from day one,” Mayor Donald Lyons said. “Whether it’s that, a tornado or a fire, there are any number of things” which could impede access.
“Amen,” Second Ward Councilman Bob Schuur said.
First Ward Councilwoman Lori Hunt, who, like First Ward Councilman Randy Gross, monitored the press conference at Front Street Crossing, “I was proud to say I was from Dowagiac. They were professional and empathetic. Nothing could have been done differently. From the time I hit Hill Street at 7:12, administrators were walking down the street, they kept you informed, it was phenomenal. Kudos to our staff.
“To piggyback on what Dodd said,” Hunt said, “If not now, when? I think we should spearhead and trail blaze this thing, get the appropriate people to the table and get that road opened up.”
“The press conferences were very reassuring to the public,” Gross said. “From a school stand point, attendance was normal the next day. It was handled very well.”
Anderson offered to coordinate setting up an initial meeting and formulating an agenda.
If the city and school district seem to be working more closely, credit that to shared space at City Hall since the Wolverine Building closed.
“Sometimes there are small things that happen over the years that you don’t think about making a big difference,” Anderson said. “Moving school administration here, where we’re all working out of the same facility, made a world of difference in coordination that day. That factor made a huge difference in response.”