Three Rivers Mayor Tom Lowry said he has been informed the municipality has received three grants.
During last week’s city commission meeting, Lowry said the grants are in the combined amount of almost $7,500.
The first, a $750 award from the Dr. Pepper/Snapple group, will be used for expenses related to clean-up projects during the city’s Community Pride Day coming up in May.
A grant in the amount of $2,800 will allow for the hiring of additional help at Scidmore Park Petting Zoo. The funds will allow the zoo to extend its summer hours. The money, which requires a 25 percent match, was provided by the Three Rivers Area Community Foundation.
The Conservation Fund, through the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, will be earmarked toward the Three Rivers Farmers’ Market.
Lowry said the money will allow the market to help create a sustainable market, market training, state certification and equipment to accept payments other than cash.
Discussions regarding a potential sidewalk snow-removal ordinance in Three Rivers began Tuesday, when the Three Rivers City Commission explored the issue.
Mayor Tom Lowry said a final proposed ordinance could be several meetings away, but he said hearing that children are walking in the street to and from school because sidewalks are not shoveled by adjacent property owners is alarming.
The matter was brought to the commission’s attention Jan. 21 by Three Rivers Community Schools Board of Education member Waneta Truckey. The issue is most relevant to students who attend Hoppin and Andrews elementary schools, as they are neighborhood schools within the city limits.
City attorney Pat O’Malley presented commissioners with proposed language to consider in the form of an ordinance. Lowry advised commissioners to study the draft carefully and the matter would be brought before the commission at its Feb. 18 meeting.
On a related note, Commissioner Alison Haigh said she is concerned about piles of snow residents have accumulated at street corners, forcing motorists to creep their vehicles an unsafe distance into the roadway in order to look for oncoming traffic.
The city of Three Rivers has granted an Industrial Facilities Tax Exemption for W.E. Slitt Sheet and Co.
During Tuesday’s meeting, the city commission agreed to the 12-year abatement for personal-property improvements in excess of $467,000.
As a result, the Jefferson Street company expects to retain 28 jobs and create one new position.
A company official said the majority of the 28 jobs are held by area residents.
Officials from the city of Sturgis wish to pass along that due to the recent inclement weather, utility bills will be estimated for the month of January.
Bills for water, sewer and electric will be estimated based on past usage. When meters are read this month, the difference between estimated bill and actual usage will be included in the February billing.
The city of Sturgis has expressed interest in purchasing a piece of property along a busy stretch of West Chicago Road.
City Manager Mike Hughes said Sturgis Bank and Trust has put up for sale the Wood Motel, a longtime business on the south side of the road, just east of the Centerville Road intersection.
The city was informed it qualified for a state-funded community development block grant, which would cover 70 percent of the cost to acquire the property and demolish the single-story structure. The city would be responsible for the balance, which would require about $73,000.
Hughes said he will file additional paperwork related to the grant. According to terms of the grant, the property must stay vacant for at least five years unless an acceptable development is proposed within the 60-month period.
The cities of Three Rivers and Sturgis will pay a bit more per entity to fund the county grant-writer position.
During action earlier this month, the St. Joseph County Board of Commissioner lowered its financial commitment to the three-way agreement, from 70 to 50 percent of the $64,000 cost. Three Rivers and Sturgis will now pay 25 percent each, a 10 percent increase per community.
Lindsay Oswald has served a county grant writer since January 2013.