Observer 5/23/2014 : Page 1

Historic Root Beer Barrel May Soon Find New Home In Douglas, Say City Officials Page 3 There’s Still Time To Help Vote Saugatuck The No. 1 Summer Getaway Destination In U.S. Page 3 Presorted Standard U.S. Postage Paid Saugatuck MI Permit No. 30 CURRENT RESIDENT THE LOCAL OBSERVER WE BRING YOU THE NEWS SERVING May 23, 2014 Vol. 12 No. 21 FREE SAUGATUCK * DOUGLAS * SAUGATUCK TOWNSHIP * LAKETOWN TOWNSHIP * FENNVILLE * GLENN * GANGES TOWNSHIP * HAMILTON * HOLLAND * SOUTH HAVEN Swing Bridge Project Stalled; Macatawa Bank Took Back One Parcel Efrain Sandoval Correspondent At least one parcel of the luxury condo development called The Boardwalk at Swing Bridge, located southwest of the Blue Star Highway over the Kalamazoo River, reverted to the ownership of Macatawa Bank at the end of 2103, say City of Douglas officials. The approximately five-acre, 16-condo-unit development was discussed at Monday’s council meet-ing when Douglas City Council Member Greg Harvath asked city staff if under the performance bond -as part of a prior agreement with the developer -the city could do some-thing about a development that has remained stagnant for a long time, far from being completed. “You don’t see anything going on down there except weeds,” said Harvath, concerned about the conspicuously unfinished project. “We were bonded for the infrastructure (Washington Street at the development site), not the build-ings,” Douglas City Manager Bill LeFevere told council about the per-formance bond. The infrastructure leading to the site is complete and so is the public, 700-foot-long, six-foot-wide boardwalk along the waterfront, stretching from the Veterans Walk Park at the Blue Star Highway bridge to the west end of the Union Street boat launch. LeFevere said that Macatawa Bank now owns a parcel of the property, the one that connected the majority of the property to Union Street, as a consequence of the devel-oper not being able to pay real prop-erty taxes to Allegan County. However, he added, “We have no knowledge regarding the sta-tus of the contractor or any bankrupt-cy.” The boardwalk has public access at each end and comes as a stip-ulation set forth by a judge’s 2009 consent judgment ruling agreed to by the city and developer Tom Scott. That agreement came after Scott sued Douglas over the city’s 2008 issuance of a stop-work order against him. The 2009 ruling gave Scott the green light to construct his project, but required him to provide the city a “letter of credit,” ensuring the city the public facility aspect of the condo complex would actually be financially protected and be completed. Besides the boardwalk and the public infrastructure, the Swing Bridge project has only a few build-ings up and one concrete framework of a basement left exposed. LeFevere told the council Monday the development constituted private property, maintaining, “If you want to start tearing things down you have to own it.” Innovative Judge Baillargeon Highlights New Veterans’ Treatment Court Efrain Sandoval Correspondent The newest specialty court to the 57th District Court of Allegan County aims to tackle military ven-terans’ “invisible injuries,” helping participants address underlying issues that bring them into contact with the criminal justice system. In his annual State of the Court report before the Douglas City Council on Monday night, Chief District Court Judge William Baillargeon said that through the West Michigan Regional Veterans’ Treatment Court he wanted to fully prepare courts to adequately deal with such common issues as post-traumat-ic stress, post-traumatic brain injury, and issues related to substance abuse those problems directly correlated to military service. “These are ‘invisible injuries’ that cannot be seen physical-ly,” said Baillargeon. “We want to treat core issues that create (mental, physical and legal) problems.” Providing statistics, he said veterans are more likely than the gen-eral population to commit suicide, be unemployed and be homeless. Developed and organized by Baillargeon, the veterans’ treat-ment court was in its planning stages in 2013 and took effect in January 2014. “The program makes sure vet-erans are provided proper mental and physical health care and the court fol-lows up to ensure that they maintain the treatment protocol as well as total abstinence from drugs and/or alcohol. “The goal is to divert veter-ans from prison or jail and to have more satisfying, productive, law-abid-ing life-restoring honor and integri-ty,” reads the district court’s annual report. The five-phase, 18-month veterans’ program involves random drug/alcohol tests; bi-weekly court review, counseling and more. The veteran’s court, said Baillargeon, represents the first regional court in the state of Michigan that fully integrates the cir-cuit and district court cases of two different jurisdictions: Van Buren and Allegan Counties. The district’s two other spe-cialty courts, created three years ago, includes the Mental Health Court and the Drug Treatment Court, which Baillargeon said were operating with success. Douglas News & Nuggets Douglas Officials To Saugatuck Officials: Let’s Consolidate Not Cities But Public Works As a cost-cutting tool and a method of improved efficiency, Douglas city leaders want to explore the possibility of merging the public works department of their city with Saugatuck’s. At Monday night’s city council meet-ing, Douglas officials said they would like to open discussions on the topic. “I, for one, would like to more formal-ly discuss it,” said Douglas Council Member Lisa Greenwood. The idea of such a consolidation has been around for a while, even before the defeat of a proposed referendum last year calling for the consolidation of the cities of Saugatuck and Douglas. Part of a public works merger could, for example, lead to the sharing of in-house gas tanks which would make fueling equipment more effi-cient and less expense, said city leaders. According to Douglas council mem-bers, Saugatuck’s public works department cur-rently has such gas tanks. City Reappoints Three Incumbents To ZBA, One Also to Planning Commission At its meeting Monday, the Douglas City Council approved the reappointment of Tarue Pullen and William Schumacher to a three-year term on the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA). David Burdick was reappointed to a three-year term on the Planning Commission ending April 30, 2017. He also was reappointed as that body’s representative on the ZBA. All of Monday’s approved ZBA terms expire June 30, 2017.

Swing Bridge Project Stalled; Macatawa Bank Took Back One Parcel

Efrain Sandoval<br /> Correspondent<br /> <br /> At least one parcel of the luxury condo development called The Boardwalk at Swing Bridge, located southwest of the Blue Star Highway over the Kalamazoo River, reverted to the ownership of Macatawa Bank at the end of 2103, say City of Douglas officials.<br /> <br /> The approximately five-acre, 16-condo-unit development was discussed at Monday’s council meeting when Douglas City Council Member Greg Harvath asked city staff if under the performance bond - as part of a prior agreement with the developer - the city could do something about a development that has remained stagnant for a long time, far from being completed.<br /> <br /> “You don’t see anything going on down there except weeds,” said Harvath, concerned about the conspicuously unfinished project.<br /> <br /> “We were bonded for the infrastructure (Washington Street at the development site), not the buildings,” Douglas City Manager Bill LeFevere told council about the performance bond.<br /> <br /> The infrastructure leading to the site is complete and so is the public, 700-foot-long, six-foot-wide boardwalk along the waterfront, stretching from the Veterans Walk Park at the Blue Star Highway bridge to the west end of the Union Street boat launch.<br /> <br /> LeFevere said that Macatawa Bank now owns a parcel of the property, the one that connected the majority of the property to Union Street, as a consequence of the developer not being able to pay real property taxes to Allegan County.<br /> <br /> However, he added, “We have no knowledge regarding the status of the contractor or any bankruptcy.” <br /> <br /> The boardwalk has public access at each end and comes as a stipulation set forth by a judge’s 2009 consent judgment ruling agreed to by the city and developer Tom Scott.<br /> <br /> That agreement came after Scott sued Douglas over the city’s 2008 issuance of a stop-work order against him.<br /> <br /> The 2009 ruling gave Scott the green light to construct his project, but required him to provide the city a “letter of credit,” ensuring the city the public facility aspect of the condo complex would actually be financially protected and be completed.<br /> <br /> Besides the boardwalk and the public infrastructure, the Swing Bridge project has only a few buildings up and one concrete framework of a basement left exposed.<br /> <br /> LeFevere told the council Monday the development constituted private property, maintaining, “If you want to start tearing things down you have to own it.”

Innovative Judge Baillargeon Highlights New Veterans’ Treatment Court

Efrain Sandoval<br /> Correspondent<br /> <br /> The newest specialty court to the 57th District Court of Allegan County aims to tackle military venterans’ “invisible injuries,” helping participants address underlying issues that bring them into contact with the criminal justice system.<br /> <br /> In his annual State of the Court report before the Douglas City Council on Monday night, Chief District Court Judge William Baillargeon said that through the West Michigan Regional Veterans’ Treatment Court he wanted to fully prepare courts to adequately deal with such common issues as post-traumatic stress, post-traumatic brain injury, and issues related to substance abuse those problems directly correlated to military service.<br /> <br /> “These are ‘invisible injuries’ that cannot be seen physically,” said Baillargeon. “We want to treat core issues that create (mental, physical and legal) problems.” <br /> <br /> Providing statistics, he said veterans are more likely than the general population to commit suicide, be unemployed and be homeless.<br /> <br /> Developed and organized by Baillargeon, the veterans’ treatment court was in its planning stages in 2013 and took effect in January 2014. <br /> <br /> “The program makes sure veterans are provided proper mental and physical health care and the court follows up to ensure that they maintain the treatment protocol as well as total abstinence from drugs and/or alcohol.<br /> <br /> “The goal is to divert veterans from prison or jail and to have more satisfying, productive, law-abiding life-restoring honor and integrity,” reads the district court’s annual report.<br /> <br /> The five-phase, 18-month veterans’ program involves random drug/alcohol tests; bi-weekly court review, counseling and more.<br /> <br /> The veteran’s court, said Baillargeon, represents the first regional court in the state of Michigan that fully integrates the circuit and district court cases of two different jurisdictions: Van Buren and Allegan Counties.<br /> <br /> The district’s two other specialty courts, created three years ago, includes the Mental Health Court and the Drug Treatment Court, which Baillargeon said were operating with success.

Douglas News & Nuggets

Douglas Officials To Saugatuck Officials: Let’s Consolidate Not Cities But Public Works<br /> <br /> As a cost-cutting tool and a method of improved efficiency, Douglas city leaders want to explore the possibility of merging the public works department of their city with Saugatuck’s.<br /> <br /> At Monday night’s city council meeting, Douglas officials said they would like to open discussions on the topic.<br /> <br /> “I, for one, would like to more formally discuss it,” said Douglas Council Member Lisa Greenwood.<br /> <br /> The idea of such a consolidation has been around for a while, even before the defeat of a proposed referendum last year calling for the consolidation of the cities of Saugatuck and Douglas.<br /> <br /> Part of a public works merger could, for example, lead to the sharing of in-house gas tanks which would make fueling equipment more efficient and less expense, said city leaders.<br /> <br /> According to Douglas council members, Saugatuck’s public works department currently has such gas tanks.<br /> <br /> City Reappoints Three Incumbents To ZBA, One Also to Planning Commission <br /> <br /> At its meeting Monday, the Douglas City Council approved the reappointment of Tarue Pullen and William Schumacher to a threeyear term on the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA).<br /> <br /> David Burdick was reappointed to a three-year term on the Planning Commission ending April 30, 2017. He also was reappointed as that body’s representative on the ZBA.<br /> <br /> All of Monday’s approved ZBA terms expire June 30, 2017.

Mill Pond Realty

 

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