Cassopolis awarded grants for village projects

Published 1:31 pm Wednesday, October 11, 2023

CASSOPOLIS — Cassopolis Village Manager Emilie LaGrow reported numerous successes for the village in the past month during Monday’s village council meeting. 

The village was awarded $2 million for Phase 2 of the Stone Lake Beach project from the Community Development Block Grant Public Gathering Spaces Initiative. Funds were also awarded to the Cassopolis Main Street and A Revitalization and Placemaking Program grant through Market Van Buren, a combined effort by the Village of Cassopolis and other municipalities. The total award of $2.5 million will be split between them.

An additional $250,000 was awarded by the Michigan Housing Opportunities Promoting Energy Efficiency Program, bringing that total to $750,000 for home repairs. LaGrow noted that those homeowner assistance funds are available both through the village and in Cass County. She encouraged residents to apply to the programs and noted that staff from both the village and the county are able to assist them in the process.

With these awards, Phase 2 of the Stone Lake Beach is now fully funded, with construction likely to start next year. Fencing for the dog park is also complete, with the entire project nearing completion in the near future

In other business, prior to this month’s Cassopolis Village Council meeting, a public hearing was held regarding the condemnations of properties within the village. The owner of the property at 218 N. Broadway requested a continuance on the demolition, noting they had a potential buyer for it. The owner of two other properties on Broadway, 212 and 214, spoke to the board and presented evidence of clean up and upgrades they have made since purchasing the neglected buildings. He noted that all late fees and taxes had been paid and asked the village to give them time to finish the work and save the property from demolition. They expressed a willingness to work with the village to meet any requirements requested.

The council voted unanimously to approve the application for a Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) grant. Funds would go toward connecting the Midwest Energy and Communications Southwest Michigan Advanced Research & Technology Park, with the hope to eventually connect from there to the Dr. Lawless International Dark Sky Park in Jones. Village staff are working with Cass County on the larger connection.

Concerns were raised by both the public and by village trustees regarding traffic in the village. Issues raised were the noise from semi-trucks using engine brakes and speeding vehicles on O’Keefe Street. Though solutions were discussed, many seemed difficult due to the requirements of the Michigan Department of Transportation.

The 2nd Annual Trunk or Treat event will take place at Sam Adams Elementary School on Saturday, Oct. 28 from 3 to 5pm. The next Cassopolis Area Utilities Authority meeting will take place at 3:30 p.m. Monday, October 16. The Village Council Workshop meeting will take place at 6 p.m. Monday, Oct. 23.