By Gari Voss
The Allegan City Council wrapped up a sale of city property, and shared reports from a variety of commissions before approving reappointments.
Safe Harbor Children’s Advocacy Center is a non-profit dedicated to the prevention of child abuse and neglect. The staff educates children and adults about behaviors that should not
be tolerated. Their goal of child abuse prevention works hand-inhand with counseling services.
The dedicated employees and volunteers have been working in a building on the corner of Trowbridge and Walnut Streets. The number of clients has expanded as has their need for a larger facility. Providing support to their individuals and groups led them on a journey to seek a new facility.
In November 2019, Perrigo generously donated a building on the corner of State and Brady
Streets to Safe Harbor hoping it would assist in their desire to expand. After an extensive
examination of the facility and the determination that it would require $850,000 to retrofit the
current building, they reluctantly sought another space for the Center’s programs. That led them to a 1.38 acre City-owned lot on Sherman Street just behind the bowling alley.
In his background information, City Manager Joel Dye stated, “Considering the value of service that Safe Harbor provides to the community and their partnership with the City when investigating crimes against children, staff suggested that Safe Harbor offer the City $1.00 for this parcel. While the city in recent years has requested compensation closer to market value, in this instance, staff feels $1.00 is just compensation for this parcel.”
Lori Antkoviak, the Executive Director of Safe Harbor, shared that this purchase would allow
the organization to move from a building a little over 3000 square feet to a facility of 7000 square feet. They plan on breaking ground and beginning construction by May.
The sale of the property had been published three times in the Allegan County News so the
City Council held their Public Hearing regarding the sale of the city-owned property on Sherman Street to Safe Harbor for $1.00. The purchase and development agreement was approved.
In other business, Rachel McKenzie shared that the Historic District Commission elected their
new officers with Jill Bentley, Chairperson, and Mike Morton, Vice-Chairperson. In addition, the Commission approved the request from Tantrick Brewing to install new signage on two sides of 243 Hubbard Street, the signage on the 101 Brady Street hotel, and the signage for the Jade Estates Inn at 302 Cutler Street.
Councilmember Peter Hanse reviewed the activities of the Airport Advisory Board including the election of Andy Millin as Chairperson for 2021. The Board reviewed the tenancy of the T-Hangers at the airport and the list of Capital Improvements that have been slated for completion over the next 6 years. These would begin with the repair of the crack sealing on the taxi lane in 2021 followed by the construction of an 8-unit T-Hangar in 2022. Members brainstormed ways to add amenities such as a vending machine for airplane necessities, some restroom facilities closer to the current T-Hangers, and extending Internet to the T-Hangers.
Dye highlighted the proceedings from the Zoning Board of Appeals where Jon Cook was
appointed chairperson for the meeting and Alex Wilkening was appointed secretary. The Board reviewed and approved the request from Hotel Ventures, LLC for a height variance of 7 feet for 101 Brady Street after hearing from Jason Watts to deny the application. The Board went on to allow the construction of an addition to courthouse at 113 Chestnut Street since it will come closer to Trowbridge Street than what is allowed in the Zoning Ordinances.
Mayor Delora Andrus asked that the Council approve the appoint of Kelly McLean to the Downtown Development Authority Board for 3 years, Mike Morton to the Historic District Commission for 2 years, Eddie Quinones-Walker to the Historic District Commission for 2 years, and Paula Mintek to the Public Spaces Committee for 2 years. These are all reappointments.
Roger Bird shared seeing construction workers on Locust Street, which is a indication of
bringing conversations and plans to fruition. Mayor Andrus acknowledge that the action on the
national level at the Capitol was disheartening, and truly mirrored that there are disagreements
across the country. She acknowledged that there are differing beliefs and ideas on the City
Council, but she respects and appreciates each member and is happy that they can discuss their
opinions and work to find solutions to improve the city.