Upton surveys Niles renovations

By By BEN RAYMOND LODE / Niles Daily Star
NILES -- On a not so unpleasantly warm Friday afternoon, Congressman Fred Upton, R-Mich., once again took the time to visit Niles.
The purpose of his latest visit? To look at the many renovation projects currently taking place and slowly but surely visually transforming the city's downtown back to its original appearance.
Having walked from Niles City Hall down Main Street and seeing the results of the ongoing renovations along the way, Upton seemed impressed with the work that has been done already.
Other downtown renovations include an apartment project, also on Main Street, a new chiropractic clinic on Third Street and the opening of Riverfront Cafe on Front Street.
Upton's downtown walkabout, during which he was accompanied by city officials, also included a visit to the Riverfront Cafe.
Tammy Watson and Gerri Klinck, whose cafe is scheduled to open in the very near future, promptly took Upton on a guided tour of the building formerly known as the H.Is.
Upton, who said he has driven by the Front Street building several times while it was closed, is glad to finally see that someone is renovating the building.
Seeing downtown Niles take necessary steps to become a vibrant business location, Upton hopes the opening of US-31 will add traffic and increase the amount of people doing business in Niles and in the downtown area.
He hopes the revitalization of downtown Niles will bring back a sense of pride everyone in Niles should have.
Upton said he will also do his best to make sure the city will be able to renovate the DK Variety building's store front.
The city is currently unable to utilize state funds to renovate that building because of tax ownership problems.
Upton said the person he will contact is Margaret M. Chiara, current U.S. Attorney and former Cass County prosecutor.
Among the city officials who accompanied Upton on his hour-long tour, was Tim Batton, Greater Niles Community Development Corp. director.
He has been involved in the city's revitalization process since it started in May last year.
Batton said he has since an increase in monetary investments from the private sector since the downtown revitalization project started.

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