City allocates funds for Washington/Bellows roundabout
Though Mayor Jim Holton would rather "bob for french fries in a deep fryer" than discuss a roundabout being installed in the city, the Mount Pleasant City Commission approved the allocation of funding for a roundabout at Washington and Bellows streets.
At its Dec. 14 meeting, the commission approved the project, which was initially recommended by Central Michigan University as part of its Master Plan. CMU identified the location as its highest priority for a roundabout, citing pedestrian safety.
The city and university will split costs in half. Each will pay $25,000 for the design of the roundabout and $200,000 for construction. Commissioner Matthew Sous said partnerships are important between Mount Pleasant and CMU, as they strengthen relationships.
"It's always great to collaborate with CMU, build that relationship," he said. "Driving around campus during the day is a nightmare. If we could do something to make it safer, that makes 100 percent sense."
Lori Gillis, a newly-elected city commissioner who will begin her term in 2016, was opposed to installing the roundabout, saying it will have no benefit to residents of the city.
"With so much other infrastructure, we should use (the funds) to improve streets, alleys and sidewalks," she said. "CMU has more budget than the city. They should be able to pay for it."
Gillis cited a recent agreement with CMU to install lights on streets north of campus, as well as the hiring of an additional code enforcement officer specifically to police student-populated neighborhoods as ways the city has spent too much on students and not enough on permanent residents.
"We should take the money and invest in our own residents," she said.
Commissioner John Joslin said it's important to remember that students are residents, who "should be treated that way."
The safety of a roundabout was also a concern. According to a study done at the roundabout on Mosher Street, there have been three total accidents since 2011.