The regular meeting of the Pentwater Village Council was held via ZOOM on September 14.

Among the items on the agenda was consideration of bids received for the improvements to the new Village Hall at 65 S. Hancock. Two bids were received: a bid from Tritonn Construction out of Muskegon for $428,189, plus an add-on of $8,000 for in-floor heat; and a bid from Harbor Design and Construction of Pentwater for $439,127 with many included allowances. With these 2 bids for 2 qualified contractors, the Village Council authorized the Village Manager Chris Brown to conduct a conference with both bidders to clarify the bids, quantify the costs and review the construction schedule, so that a reasonable comparison can be made. It is likely that the Council will hold a special meeting to approve one of the bids in order to maintain the timing needed to proceed with the project.

The Council also considered a draft Request for Bids for the sale of the current Community Hall building at 327 S. Hancock. Pentwater Township already approved this initial option for sale of the building, with conditions to assure that any purchaser will have a plan for immediate development. The Village and Township jointly own the building and are in harmony in moving forward with this, probably in October.

In other business, work on the Friendship Center is moving along well, and the Village has explored a name change to rebrand the facility given the new uses that will be implemented with the improvements made. Names were vetted in the community, and the Village Council approved the name Park Place. The name change was well received by residents attending the ZOOM meeting.

In addition, Chris Conroy spearheaded a meeting with SKYWEB, which currently provides free WIFI to visitors in the community. Brown informed the Council about the possibility of a Village-owned internet system to supply a more reliable WIFI product to the Village and outlying Township residents. A transmitter could be placed on the Village water tower with a signal radius of seven miles. This is in the exploratory stages, with many legal and practical issues to be addressed, including any Township participation since many of its residents do not currently have reliable high-speed internet. The lack of quality service has been highlighted at this time when people are working from home and now many school children are engaged in remote learning. The Village is not looking at this as a money-maker, but rather as an important enhancement to the community.

Brown also reported that the cable boring under Pentwater Lake has restored internet and phone service to south-side residents who have been without service since Frontier had a problem in early July.

With the election pending, Police Chief Laude Hartrum reported that there have been several complaints concerning stolen yard signs, and residents are reminded that stealing these signs is a crime punishable by fines and costs.

The Village Council also approved the following:

A Proclamation honoring Jean Russell as Citizen of the Year.

Plans for a Community Garden in 2021, on the old ice rink next to the library.

Planning Commission Appointments as follows: Bruce Koorndyk for a term ending September 2024; Amy Roberson to fulfill the remainder of Mark Benner’s term ending December, 2021; and Mary Temple to fulfill the remainder of Kristin McDonough’s term ending March, 2021.

A request for various road closures from the Pentwater Chamber of Commerce for proposed events.

Special Event Permits for the Chamber of Commerce for Brews & Beats on May 21, 2021, and for Oktoberfest on October 9, 2021.

A Resolution establishing an Ad Hoc Community Economic Development Committee to further efforts to establish Pentwater as an Economic Development Ready Community through the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. Claudia Ressel-Hodan will chair the Committee, and she was recognized for her already significant contribution to economic development, as she was instrumental in bringing $43,000 in grant money for local businesses.

A Resolution to approve Park Street Improvement Project Funding, utilizing a grant from MDOT for $266,000 toward the $1,002,400 project, which includes storm sewer, water main and sanitary sewer replacement along Park Street from Hancock Street to 3rd Avenue. This has been in the works since 2017 and will be used in 2021. The Village has allocated payment out of various funds.

Approval of 2020 Road Improvement Projects using approximately $300,000 remaining in the project fund for 2020. These projects will hopefully be completed this fall and are add-ons to the contract with Hallack Construction. With the completion of these improvements the Village will have met its objective of what it hoped to accomplish when it originally set out to plan for these improvement projects.

According to Brown, “The Village has been ‘neck deep’ in projects, and staff has been very busy keeping up with all of them. It is exciting to know that the community will be better for all the work being done.”

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