Buchanan City Commission discusses upcoming trail projects

Published 4:30 pm Tuesday, May 9, 2023

BUCHANAN — Much was discussed during the Buchanan City Commission’s meeting Monday at the Buchanan City Hall.

Friends of McCoy Creek Trail chair Jerry Flenar provided an update on upcoming trail projects.  He reported a recent meeting with Congressman Tim Walberg, who walked the trail. Walberg had recently put out a request for bids for projects in his district and the trail extension was included among them. Already paid for is an extension of the trail from Schirmer Parkway to River Saint Joe.

A request to Walberg for $2.1 million would pay for an extension from there to the US-31 freeway. The original request, which would have extended to Walton Road for $3.2 million, was edited down. Flenar noted that the project is in the top five list of requests for Representative Walberg. He also reported that an information meeting and Q&A for property owners along the first section would take place on Thursday, May 25th from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Chamber Of Buchanan City Hall.

The Commission recognized resident Jeanne Harris for her recent recognition as the 2023 Spirit Woman of the Year by the Benton-Michiana Spirit Community Newspaper. 

Mayor Sean Denison recognized her as a “steward of the Buchanan community”, noting her work as the president of the Buchanan Area Senior Center Board, co-chair of the Buchanan Area Recreation Board, One Buchanan, the Northside Advocate Group, and the Northside Reunion Committee, as well as for winning other awards, such as the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Buchanan Area Chamber of Commerce.

Brian Murphy, the chair of the Buchanan Tree Friends, along with vice chair Richard Martin, delivered their latest report to the commission. The organization is responsible for funding, marketing, recruiting volunteers, planting, maintenance, financing, and governance. The board is required for the honorary Tree City U.S.A. designation by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Arbor Day Foundation. Murphy stated their mission as “to grow a thriving environment for trees in Buchanan” by advocating for the necessity of trees, helping to plant and maintain them, and educating the community. Martin reported 29 trees recently planted by the group in the north neighborhood as well as a new watering trailer available to them through a grant by the Berrien Community Foundation. Murphy noted that the biggest task before them is reviewing their budget, deciding what can be done with what they have available 

Based on a recent tree inventory, Murphy informed the board that the volunteer organization would need to collaborate with the city to keep up with their work. He presented a BTR approved resolution, laying out their needs, including that collaboration and investment by the city, as well as a multi-year plan to enact them.

City Clerk, Kalla Langston reported on the May 2 special election, which was for the failed Buchanan Community Schools bond proposal. The election brought in 35 percent of eligible voters. She also announced another special election, this time for the Lake Michigan College millage renewal, to take place on August 1. She thanked the election workers and her team on the city staff for their work.

After receiving no comments during the Public Hearing, the commission unanimously approved the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund grant application to be used for the Kayak Launch Project, creating an ADA-accessible kayak launch located at 1206 N Redbud Trail.

The commission discussed the creation of a “no parking” zone on the east side of Claremont Street in the 500 block. The change would be made to ensure the passage of emergency vehicles around the parked cars during ball games. The vote was approved, with Commissioner Vigansky voting against.

The commission announced a Public Hearing on May 22, during the regularly scheduled

commission meeting at the to hear public comment on considering the new proposed budget and the property tax millage rate proposed to be levied to support it.