Cassopolis Village Council approves masterplan, Imagine Cass projects

CASSOPOLIS — Big things are coming for downtown Cassopolis in 2019. Thursday, the Cassopolis Village Council held a special meeting to vote on several projects developed through the master plan and Imagine Cass project.

In the meeting, which village manager Emilie Sarratore and village president David Johnson said ran no longer than 10 or 15 minutes, the council unanimously approved all the major infrastructure and economic development projects the city administration brought forward.

Sarratore believes the approval of the projects is the biggest step forward for Cassopolis in many years.

“I give huge credit to council for taking a monumental step forward. It’s by far biggest investment into themselves and community they’ve ever made,” Sarratore said.

Village president David Johnson had similar sentiments. As a lifelong resident of Cassopolis, he has seen development project ideas come and go without beginning or completion. Johnson has long pointed to resources like Stone Lake as underutilized. The approval of such development projects is in many ways something he has waited much of his life to see.

“In the past I’ve seen us talk about what we can do. I’ve seen us talk about projects, and for some reason, beyond my understanding, the council always drew back at the last moment before moving forward,” Johnson said. “I’m really excited this council is on board. We’re seeing some things change.”

A few of the major projects Cassopolis residents will see progress on in 2019 include a new municipal building that will house the administrative and governmental offices for Cassopolis, as well as the police department and DPW, a public recreational beach area off Disbrow Street, a boardwalk from Lakeshore Drive to the downtown area and the Broadway street scape project, which will involve redoing city sidewalks to slow traffic through the downtown corridor. Those changes, as well as others, will reshape Cassopolis and create a more desirable community for new businesses and residents, according to Sarratore.

“This will completely transform the downtown,” she said.

Johnson believes the projects are most beneficial for the people who already reside in Cassopolis.

“Without a vision this community will die. Young people have a vision, and with young people on the council they can show us what they want in the future for their families,” Johnson said.

Sarratore gave credit to the council for not only voting to invest in the community, but for hearing the needs of the community.

“The fact they took this step means they’re listening to what people are saying. They showed (Thursday night) that they listened, they planned and they’re ready to move forward with all this.”

Sarratore and Johnson were similarly pleased with the members of the community who stepped forward to contribute and participate in the Imagine Cass project, which showed Cassopolis’ desire to invest and grow.

“We were blown away by the numbers of people who came,” Johnson said. “I think it says that the people want something changed… I think people have been ready for change for a while.”

The next steps for the Village of Cassopolis will be to finalize plans and designs for the various projects. Sarratore expects breaking ground for the projects in early 2019, and expects the projects to be finished by late 2020, or early 2021.

Dowagiac

Dowagiac schools receive positive audit

News

Niles Township passes sewage increase

Business

Four Flags Antique Mall acquires new owners

Dowagiac

14th annual Sandhill Crane All Trail Race draws record numbers

Cass County

Woman in stable condition following Sunday shooting

Cass County

Suspect pleads guilty in Dowagiac murder case

Berrien County

COVID-19 UPDATE: COVID-19 cases continue to rise in southwest Michigan

Cass County

Lewis Cass ISD Parents as Teachers program receives national recognition

Dowagiac

Sister Lakes Brewing Company hosts Dewey Lake Monster conference

Giving

Chili cook-off benefited displaced veterans through chow, competition and charity

Cass County

Cass County seeks volunteers for boards, committees

Berrien County

Operation Safe Stop runs this week

Cass County

Woman shot in Calvin Township, suspect arrested in Goshen

Cassopolis

Cassopolis Middle School student tests positive for COVID-19

Berrien County

Buchanan Township man hospitalized following Friday evening stabbing

Dowagiac

Dowagiac District Library launches new programs

Dowagiac

Young Professionals of Greater Dowagiac to host fifth annual mommy, son event

Dowagiac

Rotary ready to volunteer at Sandhill Crane Run

Berrien County

YMCA of Greater Michiana opens full day childcare at Northside Child Development Center

News

Fall hiking tour planned at Madeline Bertrand County Park

Berrien County

Cass, Berrien counties to see internet accessibility expand

Cass County

Illegal immigrant sentenced on drug, cockfighting charges

Cass County

National Underground Railroad Network to include URSCC program

Cass County

Cass fire chief honored as VFW Michigan’s Firefighter of the Year