Consulting plan gets green light

Published 9:32 am Wednesday, June 10, 2015

The city has taken the next step in developing plans for the future of Dowagiac’s downtown and parks.

The Dowagiac City Council approved an engineering services agreement with Wightman and Associates during its regular meeting Monday evening at Dowagiac City Hall. Under the terms of the agreement, consultants with the Benton Harbor-based surveying firm will assistant the city with the creation of long-term development plans for the downtown business district and for the city’s existing parks system.

Wightman engineers will advise city officials on cost estimates, grant applications, design work and other components as the city develops master plans for these properties over the next six to nine months, said City Manager Kevin Anderson.

The firm has been involved with the project from near its inception, performing some initial design work for the property on 101 Cass Ave., which the city acquired last year.

“We’ve had a working relationship with Wightman in the past; they’ve done some very good for us,” Anderson said. “As we talked about the vision and financing pieces, we talked about what we could do to make a longer term relationship that works for both parties.”

By working with a single entity during the course of the project, the city will be able to reduce costs and have increased response times as matters arise, Anderson said.

“As documents get developed, they get developed thinking about the next three steps down the road,” Anderson said. “We’ll gain an efficiency from some of those documents and those things as we’re moving forward.”

Wightman engineers Stephen Carlisle and Bill LaDitka were in attendance at the council meeting Monday, briefly describing the services they provide and the history of their company’s history with the city, which dates back to as far as 1980.

“It’s wonderful to be part of a holistic view of what your community can grow to become even greater at,” LaDitka said. “It’s already a special place. I noticed your public art and other things you got going on here. You know that it’s a community that really cares about its citizens. We hope to be a part of that and really enhance that even more.”