Shelton: Looking back, looking ahead
Published 12:04 pm Tuesday, December 27, 2022
Dear friends, neighbors, and citizens of the City of Niles,
I am proud to report that 2022 has been a year of significant achievements and progress for our community. From park improvements to capital investments, 2022 was a year of growth.
One of the standout projects was the redevelopment of Plym Park. The City, in conjunction with the Plym Foundation and One Good Deed Michiana, invested approximately $522,000 into the park. This project saw the refurbishment of four tennis courts and the addition of 10 dedicated pickleball courts. The tennis courts can also be converted into an additional eight pickleball courts for tournament play and future events.
The City also replaced the former non-regulation Plym Park basketball court with a new regulation sized court, including a brand new set of bleachers where spectators can watch games. Finally, a new paved parking lot was added for easy access to these new amenities. These improvements have generated renewed interest and use of Plym Park, and the community has benefited from having such well-maintained recreational facilities.
In addition to the work at Plym Park, the City also invested approximately $168,000 in other city parks, improving both recreational activities and aesthetics. A major achievement was an update to the Riverfront Park Pavilion, a revitalized entertainment space where the community will be able to gather to watch events such as concerts from Niles Music and More, The Hunter Ice Festival, and the Riverfront and Niles Bluegrass Festivals. Park-goers will also see some color at Riverfront Park, with the addition of new banners that the City Parks Board brought to fruition. We believe that parks are an important asset for any community, and this investment has helped to renew interest in these community spaces.
The city also made significant capital investments in our public works and fire departments, purchasing new equipment to ensure that our infrastructure is well-maintained and our community is protected. Our citizens can look forward to the benefits of a new loader, two new plow/salt trucks, a new street sweeper, and two shiny new fire engines.
In 2022, the city completed a large sidewalk replacement project ($145,000) and had our largest paving project in history, with $1.3 million in roadway improvements.
After more than 20 years, the $1 billion Indeck Power Plant was brought online. What began with the multi-million dollar clean-up of a contaminated, City-owned piece of land, has now become an investment that has not only saved the property Indeck was built on, but will now generate nearly $1 million in Brownfield Redevelopment funding for future economic growth in Niles.
- The Indeck project will allow the Niles community school bond to be paid off nearly eight years ahead of schedule, lowering the burden for community members in the school district.
- Indeck will help to generate additional revenue for Southwestern Michigan College, the Niles District Library, and Niles Dial-a-Ride Transportation.
- And finally, the Indeck project will generate millions of dollars in tax revenue that will directly impact our city and county governments.
In 2022, the crumbling Niles Inn was finally demolished, and spaces for four new businesses were developed, with one of the businesses opening, and three more set to open in 2023.
In 2022 we said goodbye to Councilmembers Jessica Nelson and Travis Timm, as their four year terms came to an end. I will be forever grateful for the work they did for our community, and the time we were able to serve alongside one another. We also welcomed two new councilmembers, Tim Rogers and Michael Thompson, two gentlemen I am looking forward to serving with over the next two years.
Looking ahead to 2023, there are several exciting projects in the works. One of the most significant is the $1.3 million Downtown sidewalk replacement and streetscape project, which we hope to begin in the Spring of 2023. This project also includes the reintroduction of an outdoor community hub in the heart of downtown – a space for people to come together, forge relationships, and support businesses in our downtown district.
Another important project on the horizon is the replacement of the irrigation system at the Plym Park Golf Course. This nine-hole course is already a popular attraction, but with a new irrigation system, it will be able to maintain its exceptional turf and continue to draw golfers from the region.
We are also looking forward to the addition of several new businesses in the City of Niles.
As I wrap up this note, I’d like to express my heartfelt gratitude and appreciation for all of *your* efforts in making our city a better place to live, work, and play in 2022.
To our dedicated city staff, I want to thank you for your tireless work in keeping our city running smoothly and efficiently. Your hard work and dedication do not go unnoticed, and I am deeply grateful for all that you do.
To our wonderful citizens, thank you for being engaged and involved in your community. Your commitment to making our city a better place for all is truly inspiring, and I am grateful for your efforts.
To our neighbors and visitors, thank you for choosing to spend time in our city. Your support and patronage helps to make our city a vibrant and thriving place. You are always welcome.
To our volunteers, thank you for giving back to your community. Your selfless contributions are invaluable and greatly appreciated.
As we look forward to 2023, I am filled with hope and optimism for what the future holds. Together, I am confident that we will continue to work towards a brighter and more prosperous future for our city.
In short, I want to thank each and every one of you for your efforts in making 2022 a successful and memorable year for the City of Niles. Together, we are stronger and more united, and I am confident that we will continue to thrive and prosper in the years ahead.
Mayor, City of Niles