Changes coming to the downtown facade improvement program

The Williamston Downtown Development Authority (WmDDA) plan to restate the way downtown business owners can improve their building’s façade–the face of a building. The WmDDA began in 1995 its Facade Improvement Program to help stimulate and finance the improvement of downtown building facades to create and maintain the attractiveness of the downtown area, because of its importance to the economy of Williamston. The program keeps the historical character of the city, as well as improve other buildings. Corey Schmidt, the city manager, said that the WmDDA has discussed amending the improvement plan for the last few months. The way the program is now, an applicant could apply for up to 50 percent of improvements to be financed to a maximum of $2,000 per side of a one-story building.

Williamston City Council discuss fire insurance withholding program

The Williamston City Council on Feb. 25 discussed a new fire insurance withholding program that affects Williamston residents who suffer from a building fire.  

“If there was a fire in town, to a commercial building, this would allow the city to escrow (a bond, deed, or other document kept in the custody of a third party and taking effect only when a specified condition has been fulfilled – Google) up to 25 percent of the insurance settlement to be sure that the work that needs to be done actually gets done,” said Corey Schmidt, the city manager. Schmidt said that it’s a common resolution that many other communities utilize, however Williamston do not. The issue was brought to his attention by building officials who handle code enforcement complaints for the attorney’s office.

McCormick Park bathrooms vandalized

Questions of employee safety came up when city council members continued to discuss the recently vandalized bathrooms at McCormick Park, as they did last month.  Council member Dan Rhines wanted to know what employees should do in situations such like this. “We had a situation a couple of years ago where we had a group of people specifically targeting municipality maintenance barns for robbery,” said Rhines. “They hit Williamstown Township, Dewitt and Perry. One thing I noticed is that we have no direction for employees if they show up and the buildings have been broken into to.”

Police Chief Bob Young said he doesn’t necessarily think a policy is needed for an event such as this.

City council finishes meeting in record time

On March 11, the Williamston City Council finished its meeting in a record 13 minutes. Mayor Tammy Gilroy went through the formalities of the meeting, the call to order, Pledge of Allegiance and roll call. Two council members Kent Hall and John Bisard were absent. Police Chief Bob Young was also not in attendance. No Williamston residents attended to raise issues during the audience participation, shortening the meeting.

Williamston workers disrupted by winter storms

The lives and schedules of 3,859 Williamston residents were disrupted as Michigan and the Midwest were hit hard by winter storms during late January and early February.

Snow and extremely cold weather caused the 1,854 Williamston workers to have trouble getting to work, according to Data USA, an analytics website.

Williamston residents share their favorite Valentine’s Days

In the fifth century, Pope Gelasius I, made February 14 Valentine’s Day. As the date rolls around again this year, Williamston residents share their favorite date locations. “The best date night place is in Williamston is Gracie’s Bistro,” said Dan Spohn, who has been married to his wife, Margo, for 31 years. “It has great food and a great atmosphere.”

A Williamston resident for 59 years, Linda Siciliano, has been married to her husband, Frank, for 39 years. Siciliano said she doesn’t have a favorite date night location but would rather go for a walk in the town.

Army steps up recruiting in Meridian Township

Meridian Township’s local Army Medical Recruiting Station, located off Hagadorn Road, is serving to help out not only the country, but the local community. Recruiters knit themselves into their local communities and can be found at high schools and community functions talking to people about the opportunities in the Army. “We go out and visit high schools like Okemos High School and the local colleges. We go to community events like fairs. Sometimes you can hear us on the local radio, and we’ve been on Fox 47,” said Mark Czarnecki, the Battalion public affairs official.