Dowagiac City Council announces 2023 summer road projects

Published 12:00 pm Tuesday, February 14, 2023

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Leader Publications Contributor

DOWAGIAC — For the city’s 175
th Anniversary year, the City Council of Dowagiac has plenty of projects on its plate.  What has changed in the Dowagiac community since it was first platted in 1848?  Or since 1877, when it became the smallest city in the U.S. at the time?  Is anything the same?

According to community members, the answer is potholes. In the 1840s, dips and divots rattled travelers in their horse-drawn wagons.  In 2023, community members insist the problem remains.  Two residents, one who lives on S. Paul Street and another who lives on Walnut, voiced their concerns at Monday’s meeting.

“It’s a never-ending challenge,” said Mayor Donald Lyons. “Crews are out working, and more than half a million dollars have been set aside this summer for road work, one of the biggest expenditures in recent history.”  The Hot Mix Asphalt Repair project will shape and resurface the following streets:

  • Allen Street (from Thickstun St. to Andrews St.)
  • Cora Street (Thickstun to Andrews)
  • Miller Street (Thickstun to Andrews)
  • Ashland Street (Andrews to Johnson)
  • Grand Boulevard (~250 feet south of Pokagon to Budlow)
  • Mary Street (McClearly to Colby)

With February being Black History Month, the city looked back on a more recent past.  On Aug. 16, 1965, Dowagiac elected the first Black Police Chief in Michigan: Chief George Grady.  Eleven years after serving in Korea, Grady served as the city’s first Black officer with the Dowagiac Police Department for ten years before being appointed Chief of Police.

“I was determined to work as hard as I could and go as high as I could,” Grady said of the promotion. “But I never dreamed I’d become Chief.”

   “He believed in equal treatment regardless of race, or position in life,” Grady’s son, Dennis, once said.  “Dowagiac to me was always racially mixed.  My family got along with everyone.  I had Black and White friends my entire time there.”

In other news, the Riverside Park Improvement Project will look to have a new park facility by this summer.  Approved in December 2022, the project will also focus on improvements such as bridges, walkways, and on connecting trails.

A resolution adopting a policy regarding Excessive Force was passed that complies with the Community Development Block Grant.  The resolution prohibits the use of excessive force against non-violent civil rights protestors. The use of excessive force against demonstrators could cause the city to lose its grant or eligibility for future federal grants.

Annual grants provide decent housing and a suitable living environment by expanding economic opportunities.  Specifically, Section 3 of the CDBG ensures employment and economic opportunities are offered to lower income persons.

Another resolution was passed providing $32,000 of eligible COVID-19 funds to the Airport Rescue Grant Agreement.  These funds will provide economic relief to the Dowagiac Municipal Airport as a result of the pandemic.

Other City/County business included:

  • Dog Rabies shots will be offered, April 25, at the Bergman Dog Pound.  Cost: $25 per year.
  • Water Testing will be available.  Those interested can send an email to the County Commissioner’s website
  • Easter Eggstravaganza was announced to take place from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday, April 1 at the City Hall Park.
  • The Masons of Dowagiac will sponsor the Memorial Day Parade taking place Monday, May 29
  • Steve’s Run was announced to take place July 14 at Southwestern Michigan College