Cassopolis granted more funding for neighborhood improvements

Published 10:29 am Wednesday, March 15, 2023

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CASSOPOLIS — The Cassopolis Village Council met on Monday at their regular monthly meeting. 

The council discussed a variety of financial awards that had been earned and others that were in the application process. Village Manager Emilie LaGrow reported the High Performer award of an additional $50,000 from the Neighborhood Enhancement Program offered by the Michigan State Housing Development Authority. 

The award came as a result of the on-time completion of projects using previous awards, including the skatepark and home-owner improvements. The new award will be split evenly between additional home-owner improvements and the installation of a permanent bathroom at Kisbey Park. Village employees are also working on several new grants to be used toward housing, infrastructure, and additional funding for the Phase Two beach project.

LaGrow also reported on the process of checking for lead water service lines in Cassopolis. Per state guidelines, a random selection of homeowners will be chosen for initial checks. They will receive letters of notification seeking permission to enter the property. This is the first step in the process, eventually leading toward the replacement of lead lines.

The Council opened the meeting to the required public comment regarding the application for the DNR Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund grant as a part of Phase 2 of the beach upgrades. Partial work was done on the beach kayak launch during Phase 1. This grant would help to fund upgrades to include ADA compliance for the launch and the bathrooms. Stone Lake Improvement Board Chairman Ted Gogol offered the only comment, fully supporting the plan, indicating that the accessibility efforts throughout the beach would help to create additional interest in all beach events and amenities. During the later discussion and vote for the approval of the grant resolution, Trustee Asali Kelly inquired about the council’s request to repurpose the old pavilion roof during the upgrades. LaGrow responded that the request would be a high priority during the construction. The resolution was unanimously approved.

The Council also discussed appointments by Council President David Johnson to a variety of boards, including the Planning Commission and Zoning Board of Appeals. The appointments were approved unanimously.

Trustee James Pedersen requested to be appointed to the Stone Lake Improvement Board by the Council, asking to replace the current chairman, Ted Gogol. He cited his experience with resident complaints about the board, the chair, and their conduct. LaGrow reported that, while witnessing a small number of complaints, the view of the manager’s office was that Gogol was meeting the duties of the position. Trustee Kelly noted their desire to seek a deeper look, possibly attending board meetings before making a decision, which was echoed by others on the Council. There was also a request by the Council for LaGrow to seek additional information on the situation, including processes and policies regarding the removal of a board member and details around the process and accountability of weed removal on the lake. The Council voted to postpone any decision until there could be further investigation, with Pedersen casting the sole dissenting vote.

The President closed the meeting with announcements of the next Cassopolis Area Utilities Authority Meeting on March 20th at 3:30 PM and the next Council Workshop Meeting on March 27th 23 at 6:00 p.m., both at the Village Hall at 121 N. Disbrow St.