Update from City Manager, Nancy Ridley – July 2020

The past several months challenged us in ways we never thought possible. We found ourselves battling, and continuing to battle, a virus that knows no boundaries. Once only a news story from across the globe, COVID-19 quickly made its presence known in our state and in our community.

Throughout our City we were required to temporarily close many of our businesses and schools and halted our daily activities. As we start to reopen, like the rest of the nation, we are trying to find the delicate balance of getting our society up and running while staying socially distanced and safe. To accomplish this, City Commissioners and City staff are finding creative ways to conduct City business and assist our local businesses and residents in this financially challenging time.

Outdoor Business Activity Options

To make the transition of doing business in a COVID-19 landscape a little easier, the City Commission adopted a resolution temporarily authorizing outdoor business activities for all businesses within the City limits.These activities include waiving certain standards and fees for outdoor dining, tent and merchandise display permits. 

To allow for proper social distancing, businesses are able to utilize the space directly in front of their establishment and possibly adjacent frontage of service providers who will not be using their outdoor space. Although license fees are being waived, businesses must still apply for an outdoor dining license or merchandise display license if using public space. Expedited approvals are in place for use of privately-owned outdoor space.

In the downtown business district, Broadway Street between Main and University Street is closed for restaurant, merchant and public use. Even though this street closure has the possibility to last until September 30, staff is reviewing it every two weeks.

Summer Tax Payments

Due to financial hardships the COVID-19 pandemic may have caused to City taxpayers, the City Commission also approved waiving late charges which accrue on unpaid taxes from August 1 to September 14. This waiver is for tax payers who do not escrow their tax payments with financial institutions. Based on state law, interest will be applied at the rate of 1% on any unpaid balance on September 15, 2020 and the rate shall increase by 1% each month thereafter until paid. 

Additionally, some taxpayers may qualify for deferment of Summer Taxes to February 2021. Taxpayers who meet certain eligibility requirements can file for deferment of Summer 2020 taxes to February 14, 2021. This deferment only applies to a principal residence property. Details can be found at: https://mpcityblog.com/2020/06/30/city-of-mt-pleasant-summer-property-tax-bill-information/

Past Due Utility Bill Payment Plans

If you are having difficulty paying a past due utility bill, please contact the Utility Billing Department to discuss payment plan options. The City Commission authorized staff to approve payment plans within certain parameters during this time. (989) 779-5387.

Island Park Improvement Projects

Even in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic City staff are working on the following Island Park improvement projects.

Vietnam Veterans Memorial Pedestrian Bridge leading to Pickens Field is being replaced. This includes adding a half mile trail to Island Park’s existing paved trail. Once completed, the one-mile trail will circle the island and feature outdoor fitness equipment along the route. This project, partially funded by a Michigan Department of Natural Resources Trust Fund Grant and Tribal 2% funds should be completed by the end of August. 

The Island Park Amphitheater’s decorative concrete walls, stone pillars and wood ceiling will be seal coated. During this process the amphitheater will not be available for use. This project is expected to be complete by the end of July.

Street Construction

City staff worked with construction contractors to complete three projects while traffic volumes were low. The Michigan and Pickard Street projects were completed ahead of schedule.

  • Michigan Street from Oak to Washington was reconstructed.
  • Pickard Street from Mission and Bradley was milled and overlaid.
  • The alley west of Mission, bordered by Bellows, Arnold and Gaylord Streets was reconstructed and completed on schedule.

Currently, work is occurring to reconstruct Brown Street from North Drive to Broadway, as well as the parking lot at University and Illinois.

Stay safe.

We hope some of these programs and improvement projects make this transition period a bit easier for our residents. Thank you for following the recommended guidelines from our health officials, as well as wearing a face mask when out in public. Stay safe and be well.

Island Park improvement projects to begin on July 6, 2020

The following Island Park construction projects are scheduled to begin on Monday, July 6, 2020, please be aware of occasional disruptions to vehicle and foot traffic in the park.

Vietnam Veterans Memorial Pedestrian Bridge leading to Pickens Field will be replaced. This project also includes adding a half mile trail to Island Park’s existing paved trail. Once completed, the one-mile trail will circle the island and feature outdoor fitness equipment along the route. This project, partially funded by a Michigan Department of Natural Resources Trust Fund Grant, should be completed by the end of August. 

The Island Park Amphitheater’s decorative concrete walls, stone pillars and wood ceiling will be seal coated. During this process the amphitheater will not be available for use. This project is expected to be complete by the end of July.

Island Park Arts Pavilion inaugural concert and ribbon cutting slated for August 5

Music lovers.  Meet here.  Music lovers now have a place to gather to enjoy free concerts in the park thanks to the vision of Taylor Idema, a 2019 Mt. Pleasant High School graduate.  The Island Park Arts Pavilion project, in the works for four years, is the end result of Idema’s Girl Scout Gold Award Project. The Gold Award is the highest honor a Girl Scout can earn. In 2016 Idema pitched the arts pavilion idea at the United Way’s Pitch-Er event and won first place honors along with the $5,000 seed money to launch her project.

For the past few years Idema has been working with Chris Bundy, Mt. Pleasant Parks and Public Spaces Director to make her vision a reality. More than $200,000 was raised through grants from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe 2% Distribution, and generous donations from the Morey Foundation, W.E. Martin Fund of the Mt. Pleasant Area Community Foundation, Isabella Bank, Rotary Club of Mt. Pleasant, Isabella Community Credit Union, Doug and Melissa LaBelle Family Foundation, Mercantile Bank of Michigan, City of Mt. Pleasant Parks Partnership Fund, United Way of Gratiot & Isabella Counties, Mt. Pleasant Jaycees, Mt. Pleasant Agency, Inc. – Central Insurance.

Idema shared, “Mt. Pleasant is an active community with many talented citizens interested in not only attending fine arts events, but performing in them as well. The Island Park Arts Pavilion provides a venue for local citizens of all ages to perform, and enjoy a myriad of events close to home.” Idema continued, “Potential pavilion events include; concerts, theater and dance performances, art exhibits, ceremonies, public speeches, holiday celebrations, auctions, reunions, weddings and more.”

The public is invited to celebrate the opening of the Island Parks Arts Pavilion on Monday, August 5, 2019.  This free event will begin at 6 p.m. with a short program and ribbon cutting ceremony. At 6:30 p.m. Jim McKeith, a one-man acoustic rock band, sponsored by the Mt. Pleasant Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, will perform.  At 7:15 p.m. the Central Michigan Area Concert Band will take to the stage to perform a full concert.  Food will also be available for purchase from the Cruisin’ Chef Food Truck.

For information on how to reserve the Island Park Arts Pavilion contact the Mt. Pleasant Parks & Recreation Office at (989) 779-5331.

Topics to watch at the Mt. Pleasant City Commission meeting scheduled for March 25, 2019

Here are the topics to watch at the Mt. Pleasant City Commission meeting scheduled for  7 p.m. on March 25, 2019 at City Hall, 320 W. Broadway Street.

-Consider bids for Island Park Arts Pavilion, Broadway Street reconstruction, and engineering services for industrial pre-treatment program.

-Consider approval of area lighting installation at Hannah’s Bark Park by Friends of the Dog Park and a use agreement on the same.

-Consider approval of construction of an addition to Lions Club building at Pickens Field by Mt. Pleasant Area Girls Youth Softball and Mt. Pleasant Little League and a use agreement on the same.

-Consider resolution supporting amended rates, fees and charges at the airport as recommended by the Airport Advisory Board.

-Introduce an ordinance to amend Chapter 113 of the City Code regarding telecommunications companies within the public right-of-way and set a public hearing for April 8, 2019.

To view the entire meeting agenda packet visit http://www.mt-pleasant.org/docs/board/agenda/city/2019/E-Packet%20for%20March%2025,%202019-reduced.pdf

City police provide update regarding the suspicious situation in Island Park on Tuesday, June 26

On June 27, 2018, officers of the Mount Pleasant Police Department received information from a mother in Midland, Mich. claiming her son and his friends were responsible for the situation in Island Park on Tuesday evening that led to both parks being evacuated and searched by several area police departments.

The mother indicated her 16-year-old son was part of a club that was filming a role-playing scenario in Island Park just prior to Central Dispatch receiving a report that two male subjects were seen in the park covered in blood and carrying what appeared to be a long gun. She stated she got a call from her son indicating he was coming home from Mount Pleasant and not to be shocked when he got there because he was covered in “fake blood.”

She further explained the group had at least one “prop gun” they were using in the video, and said her son was wearing camouflage clothing.

The Mount Pleasant Police Department assures the community that there is no threat to the public following this incident. The situation has been investigated and determined to be a miscommunication from a “role-playing club” to the proper authorities.

Citizens are reminded to inform public safety officials of actions that may cause the general public concern.

Police respond to suspicious situation at Island Park, no credible threat found

On June 26, 2018 at approximately 7:51 p.m., Isabella County Central Dispatch received a call that two male subjects, who appeared to be covered in blood, were seen entering a bathroom at Island Park.

Mount Pleasant City Police responded to the area and were approached by a citizen who stated they had seen two subjects in the park and one was carrying a long rifle. The citizen advised that the subjects were dressed in camouflage clothing and were last seen by the Vietnam Memorial within the park.

Mount Pleasant City Police Officers continued to search the park for the two subjects and were then contacted by a second citizen. The citizen advised officers they had also seen the two subjects in camouflage, now in Pickens Fields, walking towards the Post Office. Mount Pleasant Police evacuated both Island Park and Pickens Fields due to the two separate sightings.

Officers from the Mount Pleasant Department, Isabella County Sheriff’s Department, Michigan State Police, Central Michigan University Police, and Saginaw Chippewa Tribal Police continued to search the area. Also assisting in the search was a Michigan State Police K-9.

After a thorough search, no suspects, victims or evidence of a crime were located.

The Mount Pleasant City Police would like to assure the public there is no credible threat to the community.

The Mount Pleasant City Police were assisted by: Isabella County Sheriff’s Deputies, Michigan State Police Troopers, Central Michigan University Police Officers, Saginaw Chippewa Tribal Officers and Isabella County Central Dispatch.

Island Park closed due to flooding

Island Park in Mt. Pleasant is closed until further notice due to flooding. As more information becomes available, updates will be posted to the City’s website at www.mt-pleasant.org; as well as to the City’s social media pages at www.facebook.com/mtpleasantmi and www.twitter.com/mtpleasantmi.

Please direct questions to the Parks & Recreation Office at 779-5331.

‘Super Soaker Festivus’ to take place tonight at Island Park

Untitled design (12).pngThe “Super Soaker Festivus” community water gun fight will take place tonight at Island Park. The event will officially start at 6:30 p.m., but participants may arrive beginning at 6 p.m.

Bring water blasters, soakers and cannons to this family-fun event! Large buckets of water will be available for refueling. Plus, four lucky participants will win a Super Aqua Blaster Soaker 1500!

Presented by Downtown Mt. Pleasant, Isabella Community Credit Union and WCFX, the “Super Soaker Festivus” is the final event of the City’s Thrilling Thursdays series.

For additional information, visit the event page at www.facebook.com/downtownmp or contact Special Event Coordinator Melinda Salchert at (989) 779-5349 or msalchert@mt-pleasant.org.

July 6 Farmers’ Market to take place at Morey Courts

20160609_074952_resizedThe Mt. Pleasant Farmers’ Market on Thursday, July 6 will take place in the parking lot at Morey Courts from 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. The July 6 market was originally canceled due to the flooding that has closed Island Park indefinitely.

“We are incredibly grateful to all of the organizations that offered to help, and to Morey Courts for ultimately hosting us,” said Farmers’ Market Manager Carol Moody. “We feel very fortunate to be part of a community filled with generous people who are more than willing to help one another during difficult times.”

The Farmers’ Market held on Saturdays will continue as scheduled at City Hall.

Volunteers needed for Timber Town 2.0 community build in May

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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.