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.

City of Mt. Pleasant Provides Outdoor Business Activity Options

In response to the Coronavirus pandemic, and the changes in current business operations, the Mt. Pleasant City Commission recently adopted a resolution temporarily authorizing outdoor business activities. These activities include waiving certain standards and fees for outdoor dining, tent and merchandise display permits.

The resolution adjusts City policy as follows through September 30, 2020:

  • To allow for social distancing, the use of private outdoor parking areas, lawns, or other open spaces for sales, service, or other types of work which would normally be required to occur within an enclosed building will be permitted. Certain standards will still apply.
  • Fees will be waived for Outdoor Dining and Merchandise Display licenses. These licenses permit dining or merchandise sales on adjacent sidewalks or on-street parking spaces.
  • Outdoor Dining License eligibility can be expanded beyond Downtown Mt. Pleasant. Businesses without on-site parking areas would have the opportunity to use adjacent on-street parking for dining or merchandise sales.
  • Fees will be waived for tent permits when associated with a business otherwise operating within an enclosed building. These permits can be issued beyond the normal 30-day limit.
  • Staff will have the ability to authorize Outdoor Dining and Merchandise Display Licenses to accelerate the approval process.
  • Alcohol service in outdoor areas will be subject to the satisfaction of certain requirements and approval by the Director of Public Safety.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has created many challenges for businesses large and small,” said City Planner Jacob Kain. “Recognizing that business-as-usual is not possible in many instances right now, this resolution will help support our local business community create a safe environment for their employees and customers as well as operate in accordance with federal, state, and local guidelines.”

For more details visit http://www.mt-pleasant.org/departments/division_of_community_services/downtown_development/