The Ludington City Council will host a public hearing on the pursuit of state Community Block Grant for the Lofts on Rowe project at 801 N. Rowe St. during its regular meeting set for 6:30 p.m. Monday via the Zoom video-conference application..
To take part in the meeting through Zoom, use the code 886 6823 3133. People can also call into the meeting to listen and participate in public comment by dialing (312) 626-6799 and using the same code as the video users.
Michigan Community Capital, the nonprofit developer of the Lofts on Lowe project, is asking the city to pursue a community block grant in the amount of $2 million on its behalf.
The total cost of the 65-unit housing project is reported to be more than $10 million.
The project previously received a Community Block Grant from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s strategic fund in the amount of $2 million — half of what Michigan Community Capital was seeking. The developer is now pursuing the remaining half of the grant.
The property — formerly the Haskell Building or Wolverine Building — is on the National Register of Historic Places, and it is one of a handful of sites in Mason County on the register. It was built around 1890, and was primarily used for manufacturing.
Last month, it sought and achieved an amendment to its Brownfield Redevelopment Plan to allow for the interest for the project to be added to the total refinancing through the Brownfield. It was done in response to the lower amount in Community Development Block Grant funds.
The property has also received a tax credit through the Obsolete Property Rehabilitation Act (OPRA) from the city, freezing the taxable value for 12 years.
The building was donated to Michigan Community Capital for the project by Ron and Dawn Sarto, and the process to convert the building into apartments began in mid-2019.
The city has sought a Community Block Grant on behalf of developers and itself. The city received $2.1 million in those grant funds for the Legacy Plaza project on what was James Street between Ludington Avenue and Court Street. Grants were also sought to assist in the renovation in three buildings to create 12 apartments, and the grant amount sought was $720,000.
The council will consider the 2021 budget as well as the capital improvement plan. Part of the consideration will be setting a public hearing for Thursday, Dec. 7 on both the budget and capital improvement plan.
The 94-page budget is for three years that City Manager Mitch Foster noted addresses immediate issues while also keeping an eye on potential future needs and trends. Foster noted that he believes revenues in the general fund will be down because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the decrease is cushioned by an increase in tax revenues. Nearly three-quarters of the revenue for the city comes from taxes.
The capital improvement program is also listed for three years, with the biggest expenses expected for 2021 being replacing lead service lines through the water departments maintenance ($500,000), building a new restroom and fish cleaning station at the Loomis Street boat launch ($394,500) construction of a new salt barn ($305,000), replacing the F Dock at the Municipal Marina ($260,000), repairing the rubble mound pier at the Loomis Street boat launch ($200,000) and installing a new generator for the water treatment plant ($200,000).
No parking zone
The council will consider a request to create a no parking zone near Lakeview Elementary School.
Ludington Police Officer Chad Skiba, in a memo to the council, is requesting that a no parking zone be established in the 400 block of North Lewis Street at the southeast corner of the school property extending to the northeast cover of the property. Skiba wrote that the zone would only be in effect during the calendar year.
Skiba stated that the school allows parents to drop off students on the east side of the complex. He wrote that parents would drop off between 7:30 and 8:30 a.m. and pick up between 2:30 and 3:30 p.m.
Remote public meetings
Foster will present a resolution for consideration about remote public meetings.
The resolution covers what is allowable under the recently amended Open Meetings Act, which allows public bodies to meet remotely under specific circumstances.
Community stabilization plan
Mayor Steve Miller has a letter for the council to review that is to be forwarded to Gov. Gretch Whitmer and the state legislature in support of a community stabilization plan.
The Michigan Municipal League sent a draft letter that is included with the Ludington City Council packet that describes extending changes in the Open Meetings Act past the end of the year, allowing for changes that somehow permit the 24 cities that collect income tax to make up a projected shortfall and changing the Headlee Amendment to allow for upward and downward fluctuations in millage rates.