Group eyes management of Plym Park Golf Course

Published 9:49 am Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Niles Mayor Mike McCauslin said he has been approached by a group of people interested in putting together a proposal for the management of the city-owned Plym Park Golf Course.

While he did not want to name the group, McCauslin said they manage a number of golf courses in the area.

“I think they have some credentials and they believe they can help us better the course and make more money at the same time,” he said. “I think we have an obligation to our citizens to at least hear them out.”

A committee was formed Monday to listen to the group’s proposal. The committee consists of McCauslin, Administrator Ric Huff, Public Works Director Joe Ray and council members David Mann, Gretchen Bertschy and Scott Clark.

McCauslin said the group first approached him in December.

Plym Park is a nine-hole course located at the north end of the town. It is operated by the city.

McCauslin said the course makes money, but how much depends a lot on the weather and maintenance and equipment costs.


Demolition of former public safety building

Also Monday, the final hurdle has been cleared for the demolition of the former public safety building on Sycamore Street near the St. Joseph River.

The Niles City Council unanimously accepted a bid of $70,600 from Ritschard Bros., of South Bend, Ind., for the partial demolition of the structure, which has sat vacant for approximately 10 years.

The council also accepted a bid of $17,135 from Pro-Tech Environmental, of Grand Rapids, for the removal of asbestos in a portion of the building.

The total cost of the project is just more than $90,000. However, the city only has to pay about $18,000 of the cost because a private foundation gifted $75,000 toward the project.

Councilman Mann thanked the foundation for the donation, saying the gift helps the city clean up an eyesore.

“This is going to drastically improve that corridor,” he said. “I am really excited about it.”

Huff said in November there have been discussions about putting in high-density housing at the site when the building is razed, but nothing is set in stone. At the time, he estimated the total cost of demolition at around $500,000.

This phase of demolition will cover the barrel roof building, connected chimney, floors, footings, backfill, restoration and cleanup work.

Ritschard Bros. will be permitted to close a portion of the non-motorized trail west of the complex for short periods of time during the project to prevent injury to trail users. The contractor will also work with the city’s utilities department to insure precautions are taken to prevent damage to the nearby electrical substation.

Also Monday, the council:

• Set a public hearing for 5:55 p.m. Feb. 24 to receive public comment regarding an application for tax abatement from Niles Steel Tank.

• Appointed James Stump to the position of information systems manager, which became vacant when the former manager left for an out-of-state job. Stump is a former city employee.

• Accepted a bid of $88,625 from Ferguson Michiana, of Eau Claire, for the installation of fiber optic lateral connections. When finished, city buildings will be connected to a fiber optic line.

• Appointed Marcus Winchester, Ruth Writer and Joseph Zdziebko to the Fort St. Joseph Archaeology Advisory Committee.

• Received an update on the project to remove the Pucker Street Dam. McCauslin said bids came in for engineering at around $250,000. No action was taken.

• Approved a contract for the repaving of 17th Street estimated at $223,500. Local funding will be around $40,000.