DeWitt has been improving its community thanks to the Master Plan

By Holly Osmer
Bath-DeWitt Connection Staff Reporter

DEWITT — The City of DeWitt, with its local businesses, pleasant parks, and quality schools, has seen a large increase in the amount of residential growth in the past 10 to 15 years, and their economy is expected to continue growing, despite Michigan’s overall slowed pace. According to the “City of DeWitt Master Plan The Big Picture DeWitt 2010 to 2020,” this growth pressure is expected to continue to impact DeWitt, the DeWitt School District and other public services during the life of this Master Plan and beyond. “The Master Plan is a document that depicts how the city would like the land to be used and developed over the course of time covered,” said DeWitt City Administrator Dan Coss. “The Planning Commission and City Council worked on the Master Plan for approximately 12 months and then by State Statute it is reviewed every five years,” said Coss. “The time it takes [to finish a Master Plan] really depends on if there are any amendments to the plan, typically 6-12 months.”

Since its creation, there are several aspects of DeWitt that have been either added or improved.

DeWitt is still not very diverse, but working on it

By Zachary Manning
Bath-DeWitt Connection Staff Reporter

DEWITT — The City of DeWitt has a clear lack of diversity and residents, city officials, school officials, and police have mixed reviews on why. According to the 2010 census, about 95 percent of DeWitt’s population is white, 1.4 percent is black, 0.9 percent is Asian, and 0.4 percent is American Indian. DeWitt’s white population is above the national average of 72.4 percent. DeWitt’s black population is below the national average of 12.6 percent. The Asian population in DeWitt is below the national average of 4.8 percent.

In the city of DeWitt, crime is on vacation, but not the cops

By Brendan Wilner
The Bath-DeWitt Connection Staff Reporter

DEWITT — In the city of DeWitt, everyone is working together to continue their low crime rates. The small population of DeWitt has allowed both city officials and the police department to not have to worry about the crime rate. The city had 80 total arrests for both 2014 and 2015, according to City Administrator Dan Coss. “We have a very proactive police department and our officers are very visible in the community. We have a 24/7 department,” said Coss.

Potholes aplenty at DeWitt Public Schools’ parking lots and access roads

By Holly Osmer
Bath-DeWitt Connection Staff Reporter

DEWITT — DeWitt has a growing community, and part of that is due to their quality schools. When it comes to public schools, quality does not just entail the standard of education. The status of school facilities is just as important. DeWitt Public Schools’ Schavey Road Elementary School, Herbison Woods School, Dewitt  Junior High, and DeWitt High School all share parking lots as well as roadways for access. While everything is generally well-maintained, some of DeWitt Public Schools’ parking lots have developed a few areas of cracks and pot holes.

Bath Community Schools looking into Safe Routes to School program to spur youth exercise

By Zachary Manning
Bath-DeWitt Connection Staff Reporter

BATH — Bath Community Schools are looking into implementing a Safe Routes to School (SR2S) program to encourage students to exercise more. According to the SR2S website, the three purposes of the program are to enable and encourage children in grades K-8 to walk and bike to school, to make walking and biking to school safer and more appealing, and to facilitate the planning, development, and implementation of projects and activities that will improve safety. “Bath Community Schools supports a number of fitness programs encouraging students to exercise and participate in healthy activities. Safe Routes to School is another program that promotes student health and supports students walking and biking to school,” said Nancy Hawkins, Bath Community Schools board secretary. “It is great to see that the Bath community also supports the program.

DeWitt has a plan to continue to grow … A Master Plan, that is

By Holly Osmer
Bath-DeWitt Connection Staff Reporter

DEWITT — In 2005, The City of DeWitt was recognized by CNN and Money Magazine’s as the 75th place on their “Best Places to Live 2005” of 100 finalists. It was just one of four Michigan cities recognized. This was just one of many positive aspects recognized by DeWitt’s Master Plan. The City of DeWitt Planning Commission officially approved the “City of DeWitt Master Plan, The Big Picture: DeWitt 2010 to 2020,” on September 23, 2010. This documents includes all maps, descriptive narrative and future land use recommendations therein for DeWitt.

Daddy-Daughter Dance is now the Cupid’s Shuffle in Bath School District

By Brendan Wilner
Bath-DeWitt Connection Staff Reporter

BATH — In Bath Township, there is a new dance name that was changed and it is something that the school district should be proud of. There was a Daddy-Daughter Dance that was changed to Cupid’s Shuffle. The dance was sponsored by the Bath High School Student Council and was for Elementary and Middle School students. The superintendent of the Bath School District, Jake Huffman, said that it is a minor name change that fits the purpose of the dance. Huffman had the idea was suggested to him, the school principals, and the high school advisors.

Dog park conversation heating up in DeWitt

By Zachary Manning
Bath-DeWitt Connection Staff Reporter

DEWITT — DeWitt is in the process of looking into adding a dog park to the city and the township. The project is mostly citizen-run, but local officials are reviewing comments from the public and working on leasing agreements. “It is a community-driven project, so there is a group of citizens that have been working with the township and the city,” said Rodney Taylor, DeWitt Charter Township manager. The dog park would be located at the front end of the Southern Clinton County Municipal Utilities Authority (SCCMUA) building on Herbison Road. The land for the park is not being utilized right now.

Bath’s parks benefit the community in more ways than one

By Holly Osmer
Bath-DeWitt Connection Staff Reporter

BATH — Access to public parks can have positive attributes to communities, no matter the size. According to an article published by The Trust for Public Land, some of these benefits include exposure to nature and greenery which makes people healthier and increased property value. “Research has shown that cities with good parks and recreation services have stronger economic growth so they can attract residents and businesses because they are seen as amenities,” said Director of the Global Urban Studies Program and Professor of Political Science Dr. Laura Reese at Michigan State University. According to Reese, parks can also positively contribute to public health and lowering crime in local communities. “Public events can bring in tourists that shop and eat in the community,” said Director of the Global Urban Studies Program and Professor, Political Science Dr. Laura Reese.

There’s a new sheriff in town … or just a new officer, soon

By Brendan Wilner
Bath-DeWitt Connection Staff Reporter

DEWITT — In the city of DeWitt, the police department will be seeing a new face in the office this spring. According to Chief Bruce Ferguson, the department was accepting applications for a new full-time police officer from the dates of March 7-28. According to the city job posting, the job includes 12-hour shifts, being community policing-oriented, enforcement of all state and local laws and ordinances, and prevention, detection, and investigations of crime and traffic crashes. With the deadline closed, it will only be a matter of time until the decision is made. The process was a long, thought out one that had many applicants apply, according to Ferguson.