Finding the thin line between expanding a community while holding on to it’s hometown environment is something Williamston has found. Through the expansion of its downtown with new apartment buildings and restaurants, the community has still managed to keep its label as a small-town neighborhood.
From the Williamston Hornet décor, to the prime location right in downtown Williamston, the Williamston Pub & Grill continues to be a popular restaurant to Williamston residents and beyond. Through continuous community involvement, new promotions and a unique menu, the Williamston Pub & Grill has found new ways to attract customers and strengthen its relationships with pre-existing consumers. Prior to the opening of the Williamston Pub & Grill two-years ago, the restaurant was known as the Bucket. “The old owner was in between chefs and staff when we got here,” Executive Chef and Co-Owner Luciano Loredo said. “We tweaked the menu a bit at first and then I got out here and we started working on it to create what we have now.”
According to Loredo, a driving component to their success lies in their continual community involvement.
In 2007, Williamston was introduced to an uncommon kind of art. Fireworks Glass Studios brought the craft of original and customizable glass sculpting to the community, along with love and compassion for its neighbors. Owner, Dave Porter, opened his studio in 2007, getting into the glass blowing business just after retirement. The studio creates various pieces every day, ranging from seasonal glass such as Christmas ornaments and glass pumpkin pieces, to everyday home objects like vases and wall mountings. “I love this job because it’s so much different than the normal office job,” employee Doug Waggott said.
From retro décor, to old-school records lining the walls, the Groovy Donut shop enters its third year in business while continuing to strengthen customer relations and their reputation for their distinct brand of freshly baked donuts. Groovy Donuts manager Rachel Craner said since being established in 2015, Groovy Donuts has found success through strengthening their relationship with regular customers. “Most of the employees here are from Williamston, which helps with knowing familiar faces that come in,” Craner said. “Our success relies heavily on our regulars. Some come in every week for a dozen donuts, and others come in every morning for a donut and a coffee, but either way we find ways to strengthen those relationships.”
According to Craner, Groovy Donuts finds success through promotions and their ability to produce fresh and unique products.
Williamston has a common theme throughout the town about their close-knit community feel and environment. Williamston High School not only serves just their students, but it also has opened itself up for business to the whole community, at the Williamston Community Pool and Fitness Center. Williamston High School used to have an outdoor pool open to the school and public, but after it started requiring more and more repairs, the school board decided it would be more costly to keep feeding funds in for repair, rather than opening a new pool. It later filled the outdoor pool and decided to build a brand new pool inside the high school. The high school’s pool, fitness center and track cater to the students, but it also opened up the facilities to the public and anyone who would like to use them.
On Sept. 5, five doctors who specialize in education gathered to discuss the future of Williamston High School’s science curriculum. Two of the doctors were research associates from Michigan State University’s Education Department. MSU is working with the University of Helsinki in Finland on a research project called PIRE. The school wants its students to enjoy learning and thanks to the PIRE program, it now has a way to measure that enjoyment.
Williamston’s City Council held its regular bi-monthly meeting last week, but this time there was a 20-minute presentation about beekeeping to persuade the council for a change in their area on Oct. 23. City council meeting attendee Meghan Milbrath stepped up to present her view on Williamston’s local code ordinance section 10-2 No. 42, which has prohibited beekeeping within the city since 1929. Milbrath is a beekeeper, research associate in the Department of Entomology at MSU and the coordinator of the Michigan Pollinator Initiative, a program that is loyal to the safekeeping of honeybees in Michigan.
Williamston City Councilwoman Sandy Whealton tearfully celebrated the renaming of Deer Creek Park to Howard Dahlstrom Memorial Park at the Oct. 9 council meeting. Whealton was a longtime friend of Dahlstrom, a beloved member of the community who died suddenly on Sept. 22. The park was originally named after Deer Creek that runs behind the park.
The City of Williamston held their regular City Council Agenda Meeting on Oct. 8 to discuss the rundown of pending issues and topics of debate amongst the public. Residents of Williamston actively participated in the city council’s discussions ranging from various police and community events, the renaming process of one Deer Creek Park, and the Consumers Energy Franchise Agreement Ordinance. Williamston City Council, along with any interested residents, convened in an effort to vote on the retention of the Consumers Energy Franchise Agreement. When Mayor Tammy Gilroy put the item to a vote, it was a sure unanimous decision in favor of retaining Consumers Energy as the city’s natural gas franchise provider.The Michigan constitution requires the utility to have a franchise to operate within the public right away, which would be parks and roads in a city.
On Oct.13 Williamston Elementary School’s annual fun run event raised over $30,000 for the district — the most money raised in eight years of the event. Students in grades kindergarten through fifth grade went outside to run and exercise for 45 minutes with volunteers, parents, and teachers for donations. The fun run event is coordinated by the Parent Teacher Student Association (PTSA) for the elementary schools in Williamston. Students began accepting donations from the entire community on Sept. 11 and ended on Oct.