City Commission renews human rights ordinance

Mount Pleasant City Commissioners received a standing ovation after they unanimously reaffirmed the city's human rights ordinance on April 24.

The ordinance, which was adopted in 2012, assures that “no individual be denied the equal protection of the laws; nor shall any person be denied the enjoyment of his or her civil rights or be discriminated against because of race, religion, color, national origin, sex, age, marital status, physical or mental disability, height, weight, family status, sexual orientation or gender identity.”

The commission received 19 letters or emails supporting the renewal, and several residents spoke in support during a public comment at their regular meeting.

Central Michigan University Emeriti Norma Bailey said reaffirming the ordinance gives students a sense of safety in the community.

“While it’s symbolic, it is also real,” Bailey said. “I am very proud to be a part of this community that makes me feel very welcome and protected.”

Commissioner Tony Kulick requested a motion, which was passed, to reaffirm the ordinance every five years “so it doesn’t get lost.”

Commissioner Mike Verleger thanked members of the community for voicing their support.

“We don’t always agree on everything,” Verleger said. “One thing we all have is a tremendous sense of pride and it makes me very proud to be a part of this commission, especially in instances like this where we can come together and do the right thing for everyone.”

Mayor Kathy Ling also read proclamations recognizing the Greek community, participants in Mount Pleasant’s Citizens’ Academy and National Historic Preservation Month.

The city thanked the CMU Greeks for their work during “Greeks Clean the Streets." Since the program's inception in 2012, nearly 665 students have volunteered their time to beautify and improve student residential neighborhoods.

Ling said Mount Pleasant appreciates the fraternities and sororities efforts in cleaning the streets after the events and “parties that go on in Mount Pleasant.”

The commission also took action on the following: 

  • Postponed approval of an extension to the Mission/Pickard Downtown Development Authority plan.
  • Approved an ordinance amendment clarifying rules for outdoor cooking and allowing for recreational fires that meet specific requirements.
  • Approved the removal of an ordinance regulating taxi cabs, which was made redundant by state law.
  • Approved a contract of $25,710 for the purchase of 500 tons of road salt from Michigan’s MiDeal Extended Purchasing Program.
  • Authorized a contract of $86,935 to install pedestrian lighting on Broadway Street, from the bridge near Nelson Park to Harris Street.
  • Approved a contract of $72,712.50 to Lakeshore Construction & Renovation for sidewalk renovations. 
  • The commission also received a petition from and heard public comment supporting the addition of three barrier-free parking spaces that would accommodate the disabled.