McCoy’s Creek, Pear Mill revitalization project progresses

Published 11:07 pm Tuesday, October 12, 2010


Niles Daily Star

BUCHANAN — A major step toward revitalizing McCoy’s Creek and Pears Mill was taken Monday night at the Buchanan City Commissioners meeting in front of a packed city hall.

The commissioners gave their backing to the creek watershed improvement project by agreeing to transfer $250,000 from the city’s municipal complex reserve to a reserve fund for the project.

The decision was met with applause from the audience of 40-plus people.

Thomas Fehlner, the chairman of an ad-hoc committee heading up the project, said the committee is not asking the city to commit to spending the full $250,000 on the project.

Fehlner said the reserve fund will serve as leverage when applying for grants. It is the committee’s goal that much of the project’s estimated $250,000 cost will be met with grant funding.

“The reserve fund would be compelling evidence (to organizations awarding grants) that the city is serious about the watershed project,” he told the commissioners.

Fehlner said the committee wants to see the eroding banks of the cold water trout stream improved. The project would also improve the conditions of the pond by Memorial Park and repair a rupture in the dam that has kept the historic Pears Mill running.

Commissioner Joe Scanlon said the area is a bit of an eyesore and needs the improvement project.

“The duck pond is disgusting. You never see anyone over there anymore,” he said. “I don’t think the ducks even want to be over there.”

Commissioner Patricia Moore first expressed reservations about committing to set aside $250,000 — an amount of money she said the city does not have.

“To be honest with the taxpayers we would have to set it aside it aside in a lock box,” she said. “And frankly we don’t have $250,000 we can earmark.”

That’s when Scanlon made the proposal to transfer the $250,000 from the municipal complex reserve to the reserve fund for the watershed project. Any remaining dollars after the project would be returned to the municipal fund.

The approved proposal also calls for the ad hoc committee to report back to the commissioners in one year on the status of the search for grants.

“This is so fantastic,” Mayor Carla Cole said after the proposal was approved. “Let’s all help the ad hoc committee to get this done.”

During public comment, several residents provided support for the project, including local business owners, who argued a revitalized McCoy’s Creek would be a boon for business and the overall development of downtown.