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What are your Boards and Commissions up to?
- As the Village is nearing full bloom, the Beautification Commission met to discuss the upkeep of their gardens and new business on May 19, 2021. With trimming and mulching assistance from DPW Superintendent, Marcus, the Community Gardens are underway and looking fresh. The Garden Club formed a new Support Committee with three new members: Robyn Shank, Paula George and Jane Stauffer. The Support Committee is working alongside the Beautification Commission to brainstorm ideas for plantings along Harbor Drive while maintaining a commitment to only planting native trees and bushes. Report from Council Chair Laura Shumate included the discussion of sidewalk replacement through the Sidewalk Ordinance while noting there is no budget, so homeowners would be responsible for 50% of replacement of nonessential sidewalks.
Downtown Development Authority
- During their May 12th meeting the DDA gave updates on Ames Street, Trail Town, Village Events, an Engagement Plan, and the Purchase of Firepits and Chairs. A motion was carried to purchase masks for the Downtown District, not to exceed $600. $2,000 for maintenance and enhancement of the discoverelkrapids.com website was also carried. A representative from Great Lakes Equestrian spoke about their upcoming horse show in the area and how to engage show attendees with Elk Rapids businesses. An update on the Rotary Charities grant was given- $43,000 raised to date, but $60,000 is needed to kickstart phase three of the 13 Ways Community Project.
- The Listening Plan (Phase two of an Engagement Plan with local businesses) survey is underway with plans to discuss in upcoming meetings.
- While making preparations for a busy summer the Harbor Commission met on May 10, 2021. Discussions included preparing for the Wooden Boat Show which took place June 11-12. Note was made of the completion of a variety of maintenance projects (Repair work on irrigation system completed; Fuel dock quarterly inspection 100% compliant with Licensing and Regulatory Affairs; Bathrooms completed; Keyless entry installed for dayroom; Office and fuel dock facility up and running). Staff training took place May 1st for all 21 dock attendants, old and new, who are ready to kick off an awesome season! Other business was an unanimous vote to increase the seasonal boat waitlist one time application fee from $20 to $100 and the addition of a spouse on a seasonal contract. At the end of May the Harbor was at 40% capacity, but with the water warming up the Harbor is quickly filling.
- At their meeting March 16, 2021, Housing reviewed Occupancy and Maintenance Reports from Noble Pines, an affordable retirement community and primary asset of the Housing Commission.
Parks & Recreation Commission
- During their May 6, 2021 meeting, Parks & Recreation proposed Bass Lake Park. Modeled after the Kewadin boat launch, Green ER offers Parks and Rec the opportunity to be involved. Despite a $40k budget, expenditures could drop with lots of community willingness to help. The commission also nominated a Chairperson (Melissa West), a Vice Chair (James Dake) and a Secretary (Michael Conrad). The Spring in SummER event is still postponed at this time.
- Planning looked at three different Ordinances during their regular monthly meeting that was held May 25, 2021. The first of these was the Storage of Recreational Vehicles and/or Recreational Units (#518), which passed unanimously. The second was the Lighting Ordinance (#527) passing with a 4 to 3 margin. This included a discussion of the kelvin lighting requirement, but many commissioners agreed that the industry is most likely not moving from LED lighting anytime soon. Short term rentals was another item on the agenda and it was decided to not move forward with adding business districts to the ordinance. Concluding their meeting was the election of officers. Royce Ragland will continue as Chair and Wallace Hibbard will assist as Vice Chair.
- The Village Council conducted their regular meetings on the first and third Mondays of June. On June 7th, five motions were carried: Resolution 21-25 adoption of the millage rate for the Village summer taxes; Resolution 21-26 approve administrative fees and penalties regarding property tax collection for Village summer taxes; Resolution 21-28 approve bills placed as liens on the 2021 Village summer taxes; Resolution 21-29 authorize Gosling Czubak to design sanitary and storm sewer replacement for Cedar Street between River and Traverse, not to exceed $9,400; Resolution 21-30 approve performance resolution. Matt Doran and Chase Bonhag were appointed to DDA per President Janisse’s recommendations.
- On the third Monday in June (June 21, 2021), regular business was conducted, but the meeting also included the 2020 Annual Commission Reports. The Beautification Commission, DDA, Harbormaster Singleton, Housing Commission, Parks and Recreation, Planning Commission, Green ER, and the Chamber of Commerce presented their annual reports.
- Beautification has been working on the Median Garden, greeting visitors to River Street off of US-31. Boardwalk Garden, Harbor Drive, New Hosta Garden, Bridge Baskets, fence line marigolds, Village tree plantings and invasive species identification are a few of the Beautification Commissions activities and accomplishments from 2020.
- The DDA continued work on their Engagement Plan, featuring interviews and conversations with business and property owners. The second phase to this project was the Listening Plan which will help them develop a revised strategic plan. Chairs and fire pits were purchased for use within the DDA district for special gatherings and events. Meanwhile, efforts were made to fund a rack card and business window sticker to promote Elk Rapids to ~60,000 participants at the 2021 Great Lakes Equestrian Festival.
- Harbormaster Mike Singleton presented a thorough report of maintenance and upgrades made for the Edward C. Grace Memorial Harbor. Most noteworthy is the installation of keyless entry, hosting the First Annual Wooden Boat Show and zero malfunctions or breakdowns of electrical power pedestals and systems to boat slips during record high water levels.
- Housing survived the pandemic with no reported cases and a dumpster fire with minimal damage! Housing continues to plan for the future with their main objective to provide quality housing for seniors. This could be through the construction of more apartments, as Noble Pines has nearly a two year wait on their wait list.
- Parks and Rec saw outdoor recreation flourish throughout the pandemic. They embraced their partnerships with Paddle Antrim, TART, and Norte.
- Planning focused their early 2020 efforts on creating a Short Term Rental Business ordinance (STRB). Through engaging with Host Compliance, a national organization, STRB Ordinances #502 and #503 were drafted and sent to the Village Council for approval.
- Green ER gathered highway pickup and beach cleanup teams throughout 2020. Super Recycling Day took place alongside offering Profile Shredding Service. Monthly postings to the Elk Rapids Almanac in the Elk Rapids News continued. In April Earth Day festivities kicked off in Downtown with “Trashformations” in the windows and doorways of Downtown businesses. In May, the Bass Lake Access project was approved and funded for the first phase following “best practices,” such as shoreline preservation and native species plantings.
- The Elk Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce served as an information portal for area businesses during the state of emergency. Monday Minute e-newsletters provided weekly updates on all Coronavirus information to 2,220 individuals and businesses. Webinars, grants and one-on-one meetings assisted residents through Covid-19 related matters. Visitor guides via discoverelkrapids.com and the Chain of Lakes Visitors Guide will enable the Chamber to focus their summer marketing on regional visitors.
-Put together by Village Administrative Intern, Lauren Benitez