Cassopolis Village Council rethinks decison to sell Southside Park

Published 3:23 pm Thursday, January 14, 2016

The Cassopolis Village Council continues to struggle with its decision on whether or not to sell Southside Park to Community Mills.

William Curry

William Curry

After agreeing to move forward with the sale at its workshop meeting Jan. 4, the council voted Monday night to reconsider the sale in a 4-2 vote.

Trustee William Blount was absent from the meeting.

The motion was made by Geraldine Norwood-Sims and seconded by Kathy Yoder, who voted in favor of the motion along with Cynthia Jackson-Ash and Eugene Wagner.

Village President Dianna McGrew and Pro-tem David Johnson voted against the motion.

Prior to the motion, three residents spoke out against selling the park, including William Curry, who has been a vocal proponent of the sale.

“The idea that you want to sell the park I find very offensive,” Curry said. “I want to voice my concerns and objections to the sale of the park. I feel that if the community loses one more thing for the children, the children suffer that much more. We have nothing for the children. We don’t have a skate park. We don’t have a swimming pool. They don’t have access to the lake.

“And the little bit that the park does offer, is better than if you take the park away. Talk of relocating the park to some other location I find to be ridiculous because you don’t have the money to maintain the park that you have. How are you going to relocate and to spend money to build a park some place else?

“The damage to the park down there is not the community’s fault. It is not the children’s fault. It is the fault of Community Mills and Community Mills ought to be repairing the park.”

Having a park on the south side of the village is important not only to the residents, but the council as well.

At its workshop, when it was agreed to move forward with the sale for $15,000 to Community Mills, the council members also agreed that it wanted to build a new park at what they deem would be a safer location on one of several vacant properties.

The money from the sale, along with other funding, would be used to replace Southside Park.

One of the reasons why the council has been looking at selling the park is a constant issue with water run off from Community Mills, which often floods the basketball court.

Community members, as well as council members, said that problem needs to be addressed regardless of the sale.

The council also voted 4-2 not to reopen the contract with LaGrow Consulting, which handles the village manager duties.

Voting against the motion was Norwood-Sims and Yoder, who felt there should be an ending date to the current contract instead of a 30-day out clause for both sides.

Voting in favor of keeping the current contract were Wagner, Jackson-Ash, McGrew and Johnson.

The council voted unanimously in favor of purchasing BS&A Software, which will be used by various departments in the village, including billing.

BS&A Software is used by more than 2,000 municipalities and is used for financial management and utility billing. It can also be used for assessment and tax administration.

The cost of the new software is $30,000. The payments will be divided between two fiscal years.

The next village council workshop will be at 6:30 p.m. on Jan. 25 and the next regular council meeting at 7 p.m. on Feb. 8.