Volunteers needed for Timber Town 2.0 community build in May

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The City of Mt. Pleasant is seeking volunteers for the construction and installation of the Timber Town 2.0 playscape at Island Park.

“Community Build Week” will take place May 17-21 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. Throughout the week, professional builders will guide community members through a variety of tasks, accommodating all levels of skill.  Participants may attend the entire day or sign up for a five-hour shift – 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. or 12 to 5 p.m. Lunch will be provided for the morning shift, and dinner will be provided for the afternoon shift.

On Saturday and Sunday, May 20 and 21, activities will be available onsite for the children of those volunteering. The activities planned are suitable for children ages 5-12.

Sign up to volunteer at http://www.uwgic.org/timbertown. Additional project information can be found at www.timbertownmp.org and www.facebook.com/timbertown2.0.

The community build of Timber Town 2.0 is possible because of the generosity of several community members, businesses and organizations. Earlier this year, the City of Mt. Pleasant reached its $156,000 fundraising campaign goal for the playground project. Timber Town 2.0 is a one-of-a-kind, universally accessible play structure that will replace the original 1994 version of the playground.

Latham named captain of Mt. Pleasant Police Department

Andy LathamAndy Latham has been named captain of the Mt. Pleasant Police Department. Latham began his career with the City as an officer more than 20 years ago, and has since served as sergeant and lieutenant.

In his new role, Latham is looking forward to the opportunity to connect with community members. “I hope to continue our tradition of excellent police work while making our department more personable and approachable,” said Latham.  He hopes this will lead to more interaction between officers and the community on a social level.

As captain, Latham says he also plans to learn new phases of police administration while working with and supporting staff in any way he can.

Latham replaces the department’s former captain, Paul Lauria, who took the helm as the City’s director of public safety/police chief in February.

5 things to watch at the next City Commission meeting

2017-city-commissionMount Pleasant City Commission meetings are held at City Hall on the second and fourth Monday of every month. Meetings begin at 7 p.m.

Here are five things to watch at the March 13 City Commission meeting…

  1. Special Meeting: Prior to the start of the regular meeting, a special meeting with the City Commission and Planning Commission will include a presentation on new regulations for medical marijuana facilities licensing, followed by a discussion of next steps for the City. (See the agenda for the Special Meeting here.)
  2. Presentation of 2016 Community Improvement Awards: Since 1979, the Planning Commission has presented Community Improvement Awards for rebuilt or renovated residential and/or commercial properties. These awards are a way for the Planning Commission to thank and acknowledge the property owners for investment in our community and making our neighborhoods better places to live.
  3. Schedule public hearings regarding housing license fees and fines: The City Commission will consider setting public hearings for March 27 on the proposed rental housing licensing fees to be implemented July 1, as well as the new penalty amounts for owners and property managers who fail to obtain housing licenses.
  4. Renewals of facility agreements with community organizations: The City Commission will consider the renewal of a five-year facility agreement with the Girl Scouts Heart of Michigan for the Jane Harris Girl Scout cabin located in Chipp-a-Waters Park. The Commission will also consider the renewal of a 10-year facility agreement with the Mt. Pleasant Lions Club for a storage building at Pickens Field.
  5. Bids and quotations: The City Commission will consider approving a number of bids and quotes recommended by City staff for the following purchases and/or services:
    • Grounds Mowing
    • Tractor
    • High Service Pump Rehabilitation
    • Primary Sludge Pump Replacement

 To see the full City Commission agenda and packet for March 13, 2017, click here

5 things to watch at the next City Commission meeting

2017-city-commission

Mount Pleasant City Commission meetings are held at City Hall on the second and fourth Monday of every month. Meetings begin at 7 p.m.

Here are five things to watch at the Feb. 27 City Commission meeting…

  1. Presentation of award to City’s water supervisor: A representative of the American Water Works Association will present Mt. Pleasant Water Supervisor Malcolm Fox with the Raymond J. Faust award. This award recognizes individuals for outstanding personal service in the water supply field.
  2. Upgraded lighting at crossing guard locations: The City Commission will consider an amendment to the Consumers Energy Standard Lighting contract to upgrade and increase lighting at each of the eight crossing guard locations for improved safety at crosswalks.
  3. Facility license agreements: The City Commission will consider a resolution to approve a general facility license agreement template for 2017, as well as agreements specific to 2017 Little League and Fast Pitch Softball.
  4. Hazard mitigation plan: The City Commission will consider adopting the Isabella County Hazard Mitigation Plan as an official plan of the City of Mt. Pleasant. Implementation of the plan’s recommendations assist in the reduction of injuries, loss of life and destruction of property due to natural and technological hazards.
  5. Bids and quotations: The City Commission will consider approving a number of bids and quotes recommended by City staff for the following purchases and/or services:
    • Sewer Relining
    • Sand and Gravel
    • Crack Sealing
    • Spring Trees
    • Water Meters

To see the full City Commission agenda and packet for Feb. 27, 2017, click here

Nominations for Historic Preservation Improvement Awards due March 31

downtowndestination-logo1The City of Mt. Pleasant’s Historic District Commission (HDC) is currently seeking nominations for the 2017 Historic Preservation Improvement Awards.

The awards are presented each year to honor exterior improvements of residential and commercial properties in the City of Mt. Pleasant in four areas – Preservation, Restoration, New Construction or Downtown Historic District Choice. Nominated properties must be at least 25 years old, and the improvements must have been completed between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31, 2016.

The HDC will evaluate applications that best reflect the Secretary of Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties. Winners will be announced in May as part of National Historic Preservation month.

Nominations are due by 4:30 p.m. on March 31, 2017. Nomination forms can be found on the City’s website at http://www.mt-pleasant.org/boards_and_commissions/HDC.asp.

For more information, contact Downtown Development Director Michelle Sponseller at (989) 779-5348 or msponseller@mt-pleasant.org.

 

City launches mobile app to connect with citizens

The City of Mt. Pleasant has launched MP phones-and-app-square-for-websiteCity Link – a free mobile app that empowers citizens to easily report non-emergency issues located within City limits to City Staff. It also provides on-the-go access to the latest City news and information.

In a matter of minutes, the app allows users to submit a description, picture and location of a City neighborhood issue, such as a streetlight outage, pothole or park trail obstruction.

The report is automatically submitted to the respective division or department for review. The individual who submitted the service request will be notified when the issue has been acknowledged and closed. Citizens will also be able to view, comment on and vote to fix problems submitted by their neighbors.

Additional features of the app allow residents to read about the latest city news and events, pay utility bills and parking tickets, register for Parks & Recreation activities, contact City staff, and more!

“We’re always looking for new ways to increase engagement with the members of our community,” said City Manager Nancy Ridley. “With so many of us taking our smart phones and tablets everywhere we go, we are excited to offer this mobile-friendly tool for residents to both stay informed of City happenings, as well as report non-emergency issues we can address to make Mt. Pleasant the best it can be.”

The MP City Link mobile app is available for download on Android and iPhone. Simply search “MP City Link” on the App Store and Google Play. In addition to the mobile apps, citizens can send reports through the City’s website. See more at www.mt-pleasant.org.

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MP City Link was developed in partnership with SeeClickFix. SeeClickFix was founded in 2008 to empower citizens with tools to publicly document quality of life concerns in their neighborhoods. By radically improving the quantity and quality of this data, SeeClickFix was quickly adopted by local governments, who needed a better way to receive information from citizens.

This exchange helped to build one of the largest neighborhood networks in the world — upon which public agencies and public citizens engage to improve communities. Today, SeeClickFix has official partnerships with hundreds of cities, engaging hundreds of thousands of citizens in the resolution of millions of issues.

SeeClickFix has worked with government partners to develop municipal management tools on top of this citizen network. As SeeClickFix is adopted into the everyday lives of government users, the benefit of the engaged citizen base continues to grow.

5 things to watch at the next City Commission meeting

2017-city-commission

Mount Pleasant City Commission meetings are held at City Hall on the second and fourth Monday of every month. Meetings begin at 7 p.m.

Here are five things to watch at the Feb. 13 City Commission meeting…

  1. Peacemaking Recognition Day Proclamation: Every year, Mt. Pleasant Public Schools nominates students of all grade levels who promote peace through their words and actions. Mayor Ling will read a proclamation declaring Feb. 27, 2017 as Peacemaking Recognition Day in Mt. Pleasant to affirm that the peacemaking efforts of local youth are valued and contribute to the quality of life in the community.
  2. MP City Link Presentation: The Communications Department will announce the launch of MP City Link – a free mobile app that empowers citizens to easily report non-emergency issues to City staff, as well as provides on-the-go access to the latest City news and information.
  3. Tobacco Free Zone Policy Report: City Manager Nancy Ridley will provide the City Commission with a report on the effectiveness of the Tobacco Free Zone Policy in City Parks implemented in 2016.
  4. Rezoning of 205, 209-219 E Bellows and 1021 S University: Following a public hearing, the City Commission will consider a request to change the land use of three tax parcels. Two are currently zoned C-1 (Local Business) and one P-1 (Vehicular Parking). The request is to rezone all three properties to M-2 (Multiple Family Residential).
  5. Downtown Vision Plan: The City Commission will consider an amendment to the contract with the City’s zoning ordinance consultant, Town Planning & Urban Design Collaborative (TPUDC), to conduct additional design work for downtown in conjunction with the character-based code project.

To see the full City Commission packet for Feb. 13, 2017, click here.

Man vs. Mountain Recap

More than 250 people participated in the Feb. 4 Man Vs. Mountain 5K race and obstacle course. Racers tackled obstacles such as a rope cargo climb, giant hay barrels and the final 16-foot wall before crossing the finish line.

2017 marked the third year the City of Mt. Pleasant Parks & Recreation Department has hosted the event. Participants were able to warm up inside Mountain Town Station before and after trekking through the GKB Riverwalk trails.

Saturday morning saw a beautiful sunrise and 9 a.m. temperatures around 15 degrees. However, the cold didn’t stop runners from achieving some pretty impressive times. Here are the top 10 finishers:

  1. Caleb Bearup (22:45.7)
  2. Justin Fachting (23:07.4)
  3. Kevin Vaillancourt (23:49)
  4. Ryan Willis (25:27.5)
  5. Brad Safnuk (25:41.4)
  6. Spencer Kloss (26:50.5)
  7. Jason Foust (26:56.5)
  8. Bill Holbrook (27:11.3)
  9. Ryan Fachting (27:22.3)
  10. Ryan Krager (27:31.2)

Click here for a full list of results. The 2018 Man Vs. Mountain 5K will take place Feb. 3.

Timber Town 2.0 fundraising efforts reach project goal

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The Mt. Pleasant Area Community Foundation presented the City with $25,000 in November for the Timber Town 2.0 project. 

With the generosity of several community members, businesses and organizations, the City of Mt. Pleasant reached its $156,000 fundraising campaign goal for the Timber Town 2.0 playground project. This one-of-a-kind, universally accessible play structure will replace the 22-year-old Timber Town playscape at Island Park in May.

A portion of the donations were received during a crowdfunding campaign last fall. Administered through the crowdgrant organization, Patronicity, donations made during the 45-day fundraiser were matched through the “Public Spaces Community Places” program of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) and Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA).

“Thank you to all who donated for your help in making this project a reality,” said Rick Ervin of the Timber Town 2.0 Citizens’ Committee. “The families and children in Mt. Pleasant will be benefitting from this great project for decades to come, and we could not have done it without the incredible support and enthusiasm of everyone who participated in this fundraising effort.”

Special thanks to the following campaign donors for their contributions:

Executive Level (Donation of $5,000 or more)

  • Isabella Bank
  • Mercantile Bank
  • The Morey Foundation
  • Mt. Pleasant Area Community Foundation (Jane McNamara and Louise Williams Fund/ Kay Smith Family Fund/Community Impact Fund)
  • Muskegon Development
  • Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe

Skyline Level (Donation of $1,500 or more)

  • Doug and Melissa LaBelle Family Foundation LaBelle Management
  • Merchandise Outlet
  • Mount Pleasant Abstract and Title
  • Mt. Pleasant Jaycees
  • Mt. Pleasant Optimist Club

Tower Level (Donation of $500 or more)

  • General Agency Company
  • Jim Batcheller
  • Members First Credit Union
  • Michael Swirtz
  • Nancy Hartshorne

Interested in Volunteering? Community Build Week is May 17-21. To stay informed about the project and service opportunities, sign up at http://www.uwgic.org/timbertown.

Lauria named director of public safety; community reception Feb. 13

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Mt. Pleasant Police Capt. Paul Lauria has been named the City’s Director of Public Safety and Police Chief. Lauria will succeed longtime public safety leader Glenn Feldhauser after his retirement in February.

Lauria was selected for the position following an internal search process consisting of multiple panel interviews with community and city leaders. “Throughout the search process, I heard tremendous support for Paul from City staff, his prior supervisors and those involved in the interviews,” said City Manager Nancy Ridley. “I am confident Paul’s abilities and commitment to the City of Mt. Pleasant make him the ideal candidate for this role. Our community will be served well by him.”

Lauria began his career with the City of Mt. Pleasant as a patrol officer nearly 20 years ago. Since then, his skills and dedication propelled him through the ranks of the police department, serving as a detective, lieutenant and most recently, captain.

In early 2016, his exemplary reputation lead him to Quantico, VA, where he attended the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) National Academy. Lauria was one of 230 law enforcement officers from 31 different countries chosen to take part in the prestigious ten-week academy designed to improve the administration of justice in police departments and agencies. In addition to participating in specialized trainings and fitness challenges, Lauria completed a number of graduate classes covering leadership in law and personal development. He graduated from the program in March 2016.

As he embarks on the next chapter of his career, Lauria said he’s honored and excited for the opportunity to “continue the great service and professionalism the Division of Public Safety provides everyone living and visiting the City of Mt. Pleasant.” Lauria is also looking forward to making an impact on the community on a much larger scale. “I’m always looking for ways to improve,” he said. “I want our residents to know I welcome their input and want them to feel comfortable making suggestions, criticisms or asking questions about what is important to them.”

“I want our residents to know I welcome their input and want them to feel comfortable making suggestions, criticisms or asking questions about what is important to them.” -Lauria

Lauria praises his family, friends, coworkers and colleagues for their support and guidance throughout his career. “This has been a goal of mine since I began working in law enforcement,” he said. “I am very thankful to all of the people who have had a role in making this achievement possible.”

The community is invited to attend a public reception for Lauria at City Hall on Monday, Feb. 13 from 3 to 6:30 p.m. After, the City Commission will hold their regular meeting at 7 p.m.