Niles approves downtown art project

Published 11:11 am Thursday, June 27, 2024

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NILES — A new art project aims to enhance downtown Niles scenery.

Council authorized Chris Stackowicz of CStack Productions of Edwardsburg to paint the alley and parking lot curb at 2nd and Sycamore Streets at a cost of $1,300 which will be paid by the River Essence group.

CStack Productions is painting the mural on the building in front of 2nd Street and Sycamore parking lot. River Essence sought to continue Stackowicz’s talent by contracting him to paint the alley and parking lot curb that will add color and character to the downtown area. The Niles Public Arts Commission supports the decorative painting of 2nd Street and Sycamore alley and parking lot curb.

Stackowicz’s works can be found throughout Southwest Michigan, including the murals at Iron Show Distillery, Green Stem Provisioning, the ‘Welcome To Cassopolis’ mural in Cassopolis and many more.

In other business, council approved the emergency purchase in the amount of $15,569.75 from Hickok Heating and Plumbing, LLC of Buchanan for installation and re-piping of an expansion tank for the boiler and heating system at the Wastewater Treatment Plant, charging the expense to the Maintenance – Plant Equipment Replacement budget.

According to city documents, the boiler system for the headworks at the WWTP has an outdated expansion tank and circulation pump system from the 1970’s. There have been numerous repairs to the circulation pump in recent years and has caused delays on yearly start-ups and shutdowns during the heating season.

A new expansion tank was ordered prior to the boiler start-up in October 2023 but did not arrive until January 2024 and therefore could not be installed during heating season. After the heating season was over and installation had begun it was determined by the technician that some of the sensors and circulation pump were installed in the wrong locations for efficient operation. At that point it was deemed necessary to re-pipe the boiler to achieve optimal flow and eliminate the recurring alarms from the boiler.

Council also approved a quote in the amount of $28,777.80 from Dell Marketing, LP of Round Rock, Texas, under the Michigan MiDEAL contract, for two servers to run “virtual machines and charge the expense to Computer Equipment and Supplies 60 percent to the General Fund and 40 percent to Utilities.

The city operates several virtualization servers to run dozens of “virtual machines” for its computing operations. The five existing virtualization servers are between 10 and 13 years old and need to be replaced with new equipment. While the existing servers have worked well, they have already been upgraded to extend their lifespan and are at the end of their usefulness for the City.

Quotes were obtained from Dell, SHI, and CDWG through Bid Contract Services to replace the five old virtualization servers with two new servers. The new servers will outperform the old units and also allow for computing expansion in the future.

In further business, council authorized the renewal of software licenses and support for ArcGIS software from ESRI of Redlands, California at an annual cost of $3,610, with up to a 6 percent annual increase, each of the next three years, charging the expense to the electric, water and wastewater computer equipment and supplies budget. Council also confirmed the appointment of Michael Reed to the Downtown Development authority to complete the unexpired term ending December 31, 2025.