Dowagiac council clears way for grant applications for parks, water main

Published 9:50 am Wednesday, March 29, 2017

The city’s ambitions to transform a pair of its waterfront properties into viable public parks moved one step forward Monday.

The Dowagiac City Council approved a resolution authorizing the city manager to submit grant applications to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources for development of Rudy Park and the city’s property on 101 Cass Ave. during the council’s meeting that evening at city hall. If the applications are approved by the DNR, the city stands to receive more than $400,000 from the agency’s trust fund program to pay for the work.

The Rudy Park application issimilar to a grant request the city sent the DNR last year, which narrowly missed the cut for funding. The scope of the work is almost identical to last year’s request, and includes development of a small parking lot on the park grounds as well as paved pathways and ADA-accessible overlook for the stretch of the Dowagiac Creek that runs next to the property.

The construction is estimated to cost around $246,000, with the state providing around $182,000 and the city providing around $64,000 if approved, according to documents provided to council by City Manager Kevin Anderson.

The Cass Avenue project is more complex, with plans consisting of several phases, Anderson said. The city’s application to the DNR will request funding for the first portion of the project, which will include construction of an entrance, parking lot, paved walkways, a fishing platform on the creek and built-in playground equipment.

This project is estimated to cost around $298,000, with the DNR providing around $223,000 and the city $74,000 if approved, according to documents.

Both grants are due to the state by April 1. Anderson said his office should have the applications sent well before then.

“All in all, these are two really good projects,” Anderson said. “The Natural Resource Trust Fund has been a good source for several city projects in the past.”

The state typically announces which projects it will fund through the trust fund in September or October, Anderson said.

Members of the council also authorized a grant application to the Michigan Strategic Fund’s Infrastructure Capacity Enhancement program, to pay for the replacement of the city’s water main on Division Street. The city will request $703,800 for the work, with the city chipping in $78,200.

According to Anderson, the proposed water main replacement — which would run from East Railroad Street to Colby Street — would improve the “overall reliability, capacity and water quality of the system in this area.”

“It is also an area where we still have some lead service lines, so it will allow us to get those out of there as well,” Anderson said.

The work would also require the city to replace the existing sidewalk where the work is proposed to take place. The city plans to expand the walkway 5 feet in order to meet current ADA standards, Anderson said.