By: Jessica Brown
Bath-DeWitt Connection staff writer
DEWITT, MI – Downtown DeWitt can start anticipating the completion of not one but two development projects that are scheduled to be completed within the next nine months.
The Downtown DeWitt Development Authority met Tuesday, Oct. 2 to discuss the new projects, both of which aim to improve the accessibility and safety of the downtown area. A new public parking lot is going to be built at the corner of E. Jefferson and Franklin street,
and new crossing signals will be added to the corners near Bridge and Main Street.
According to the DDA the new public parking lot is a result of a city property acquisition. The location of the lot is currently home to a single residential house. The house will be demolished rather than moved to a new location.
“The goal is to get the residing house off the property and get started on the parking lot,” said Daniel Coss, city administrator. “We don’t want the property to stay empty for long and become a liability.”
“We don’t want kids exploiting the empty house for their own use,” said DeWitt Mayor Jim Rundborg and director of the DDA.
As for a demolition and construction plan, local construction and engineering companies will place a bid to take control of the project and an estimate of five engineers will be considered to help the city construct the lot.
“It’s a single loan project that should cost about $15,000 to $20,000 for design and construction,” Coss said.
The parking lot will have 27 or 29 spaces and will be free for public use. The expected date of completion is June 2013.
Coss said the parking lot project has received positive feedback from most. A few DeWitt residents living adjacent to the lot expressed a few concerns. When approached for comment none of the neighboring residents had anything to say.
“Skateboarding in the lot has the potential to be bothersome,” Coss said. “I really don’t anticipate it being too much of a problem.”
The purchase of a set of crossing signals was also approved at the Oct. 2 meeting and will be installed to prevent any accidents. The area has not experienced any incidents involving pedestrians to date, but the DDA agrees despite the good record it is best to keep the city as safe as possible and go ahead with the installation.
“I would have to go back and look at a crash report for the intersection, but I think there is only a record of three small traffic collisions,” Coss said. “I believe they were just problems where a car backed out of a parking space and into another car.”
The crossing signals will cost the city an estimated $2,000 and feature a 30-second rotation between cross and don’t cross alerts. On three of the corners at the intersection the signals can be mounted to pre-existing poles while on the fourth corner a pole will need to be installed to properly display the crossing signal.
“If that’s the cost, I say we go ahead and do it,” said Beth Herendeen, vice chair of the DDA. “It’s a great thing.”
Contact: Jessica Brown 714) 748-7361 firstname.lastname@example.org