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City postpones reconstruction of Maple Street, adds to snow removal budgets


City Commissioner Lori Gillis holds up an old photograph of McLaren Hospital Feb. 25 at City Hall as she advocates for restoring the historical significance of Maple Street.

Mount Pleasant will postpone the reconstruction of Maple Street after concerns were raised by commissioners and community members at a Feb. 25 city commission meeting. 

Vice Mayor Lori Gillis proposed the city revisit the design brought to the city commission to confirm and hold off on the reconstruction of Maple Street. The proposal passed 6-1.  

The original reconstruction was designed to have 10-foot lanes and parallel parking on either side of Maple Street and would narrow the street from 41 to 37 feet. City Manager Nancy Ridley said the reconstruction would not impact the “triangles,” or the street’s historic stone wall on the intersection of Maple Street and Mission Street. 

Commissioner Tony Kulick was opposed to postponing the reconstruction and said whenever the city narrows a street it reduces the speed of cars and makes “everyone behave better.” Waiting to reconstruct the street would cause inflation of prices for materials and labor, he said.

While many of the street’s features would remain the same, most residents living on the street had concerns about the city narrowing the street, like Sarah Winchell-Gurski. It was the uniqueness of the road that attracted them to the neighborhood, she said. 

Rather than narrow the street, Lee Rogers said she would like to see the city keep the streets width and help restore the historic value of the street by putting lights on the stone edifices and planting flowering bushes and shrubs at the triangles. 

One of the reasons Gillis gave for keeping the street’s width was it would continue to allow ambulances and paramedics safer travel to the McLaren Central Michigan hospital end of the road.

“It is a small ask from (community members) to (the city commissioners) … to allow the historical significance of the hospital to be accented by the wide street,” Gillis said. The city hopes to have the redesign ready to send off for bid this year, Director of Public Works John Zang said. 

Snow clearing budgets

The Mount Pleasant Division of Public Works requested for $6,000 to be added to the airport removal contract and budget and $10,000 to be added to the snow hauling contract and budget, which has been completely depleted, Ridley said. 

The amendment passed unanimously. 

“This year’s winter has been something you just can’t control,” Mayor Will Joseph said. “(Mount Pleasant) sets the budget for what is expected on a yearly basis and obviously the weather always has other ideas than we like.” 

Central Michigan Life has more coverage of the snow clearing budgets the city and county are dealing with.