Reed City extends closures to mid-May

Council will revisit topic at special meeting

The Reed City city council met virtually April 22, where they made the decision to extend the closure of City Hall and city parks, and the suspension of rentals at the Depot. (Herald Review file photo)

The Reed City city council met virtually April 22, where they made the decision to extend the closure of City Hall and city parks, and the suspension of rentals at the Depot. (Herald Review file photo)

REED CITY - The Reed City city council voted to extend the closure of city hall and city parks, suspension of rentals of the Depot and the Fire Station room, and suspension of camping at Rambadt Park until mid-May.

At this week's meeting, Attorney Cynthia Wotilla told the council that Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is considering lifting some of the restrictions for the state as early as May 1, but that would be limited.

Councilman David Sharlow suggested they extend the closures until May 15, and then look at it again when, and if, the restrictions are lifted.

Department of Public Works supervisor Rich Rehkopf recommended to the council that they keep the parks closed at this time and not open them on May 1.

"I feel like we should follow what the state is doing, and that is all state parks remain closed to camping and public facilities use, until May 15," he said.

"We will have a special meeting for the budget on May 14, and we can add that to the agenda for reconsidering if something changes between now and then," Mayor Trevor Guiles said.

In other business, the council approved a special land use permit for property at 315 N. Chestnut St.

In March, the city planning commission approved a site plan submitted by Craig and Dan Goodman to build a fueling service station at that location, pending approval of street access by MDOT and a public hearing on the proposed project.

On April 6, after a public hearing to get input on the proposed fueling service station, the planning commission recommended approval of the special land use permit for the purpose of establishing the gas station.

City manager Ron Howell said, "With everything that is going on right now, it is great that we can still have these projects going forward."

The motion was approved unanimously.

The council also approved a motion to accept the bid on a proposal for refurbishing and repainting the water tower at $348,430.

Council members shared concerns about the risk of bringing contract crews into the city to work on the water tower project.

Howell told the council that the work would likely not begin before July and suggested they could add the requirement that all contract workers agree to be tested for the virus before coming to do the work.

"I'm comfortable with the requirement that they prove they prove the crew is healthy," Guiles said.

With the testing requirement, council passed the motion unanimously.

Councilman Roger Mienert suggested the possibility of a volunteer clean up of the city's parks and trails.

Mienert said would like to get some guidance on the possibility of having groups sign up for cleaning up a certain area including downtown, the trail system, and the cemetery.

"These are things that typically would happen under a one-day event in the spring," he said. "It's an effort to beautify the community for the summer."

Wotilla said the cemetery cleanup would be one of the exceptions to the restrictions and that that would be allowed.

"With respect to the beautification clean up, I'm not sure that would be allowed with the social distancing in effect," Wotilla said. "You would need to be careful about the size of the group."

Mienert suggested it could be family groups, and that certain households could adopt a certain area of the city to clean up.

Rehkopf said he could get the council a determination on the viablilty of the project if they could give him a description of the event and how it would be implemented.