Mount Pleasant enters easement with Isabella County, gains access to fix Jockey Alley

The Mount Pleasant City Commission approved various items for the 2013 Parking Lot 2 Improvement Project.

Commissioners approved numerous contracts dealing with the project, but before anything could really begin, the commission had one thing that needed to be settled.

City Manager Kathie Grinzinger said although Mount Pleasant has been maintaining and operating the parking lot known as Jockey Alley for decades, the land is actually owned by Isabella County.

“The last available document we can find speaking to a partnership between the city and the county on this land is from the 1950s,” Grinzinger said. “Since we’re now embarking on an over $800,000 project that is entirely the responsibility of the city, it seems appropriate that we formally and legally settle the jurisdiction of the lot.”

Commissioners voted to accept the perpetual easement for the property that Isabella County offered Mount Pleasant, costing just $1.

“I’m glad you got here because you’ve already approved a lot of construction on that same piece of land,” Grinzinger told the commission.

The easement gives Mount Pleasant all rights to construct, repair, use and operate a public parking lot on the property.

The easement also states that the work performed on the easement site will not unreasonably interfere with Isabella County’s use of its property and with no cost to the county.

The total cost of the project will be $870,000, with $287,000 of the funds provided by the Central Business District Tax Increment Finance Authority and the other $583,000 coming from a Downtown Infrastructure Grant through the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.

Director of Public Works Roger Rousse said the project will be a great improvement for downtown.

“It sounds like we’re just redoing a parking lot and alley, but it’s really a lot more than that,” Rousse said.

At the March 11 meeting, the City Commission awarded the contract for the construction on the project to Robbin Harsh Excavating, Inc., of Clare, for $479,241.75.

Rousse said the weather will determine when the project will begin.

“If the frost goes away, April 1 is the day it could start,” Rousse said. “If they are unable to start then, they will begin as soon as possible after the frost is gone.”

Commissioners awarded the contract for street light purchasing on the project to Standard Electric for $65,822.

In October, Rousse said burying electrical wires would be a part of the project.

The city will pay $14,325 to help Charter Communications relocate facilities underground and will pay $146,771 for the relocation of Consumers Energy's overhead facilities and the installation of underground facilities.

“One thing we learned from polling the property and business owners is that a lot of their customers use the back entrances, so we wanted to try to put architectural enhancements there to make it equally as appealing as it is in the front of the stores,” Rousse said.

The project is scheduled to last eight weeks, but that is also weather dependent.


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