Centertown property owner John Steinbach said he’s glad to see the project get the green light.
"Centertown has waited a long time for this," he said. "I appreciate (City Council) giving us a chance to get everything cleaned up down there."
The project is the result of a $711,449 grant from the Michigan Economic Development Corp. A $534,139 match comes from the city’s water, sewer, street and general funds, and would have likely been invested in Centertown in the future, officials say.
"Because this is a federal project, it requires us to notify the state of any changes to the project," Assistant City Manager Sam Janson said. "We sent (the changes) to the state, which they approved."
Bids came in over budget by almost $400,000 from the $1 million project originally planned. Because of this, changes had to be made. To bring things in line, Janson said the city eliminated decorative art walls, gateway walls at U.S. 31, bike racks, signs and kiosks, some electrical boxes, changes to tree fill material, paving parking lots with asphalt, and removing brickwork in sidewalks and handicap ramps.
"Our vertical (streetscape) elements could be implemented at a later time if there is still interest in doing these projects," Janson said. "Our infrastructure scope does not change."
The fixes to the public utilities in the commercial district include new water and sewer lines, and new streets and sidewalks.
The new budget for the project is about $1.2 million — down from the $1.4 million originally proposed several weeks ago by contractor Kamminga & Roodvoets.
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