Village moves forward with work on Community Square project

BY TINA SUNDELIUS Contributing Writer

The Antrim Review of Bellaire, Michigan

ELLSWORTH — A decision to complete the backup drain field for the township hall and a septic system for restrooms included in Phase II of the Community Square project along with Phase I was approved at the Sept. 14 Ellsworth Village Council meeting.

Because the recent Crowdfunding campaign brought in more money than was needed to complete Phase I of the new Community Square in Ellsworth's downtown, discussion was held weighing the pros and cons of moving ahead and installing the drain field and sewer that was originally included in Phase II of the project plans.

"We've got enough money both for Phase I and for this work," said Village Council President Hugh Campbell.

The Council decided that installing the underground elements now would save money in the long run, and a motion to hire Gary Warner to install the septic system was approved. The village will now be looking into grants to complete Phase II of the project this spring, which includes public restrooms and a gazebo.

The village water system that the council has been seeking to upgrade is experiencing issues with the communication system that tells the pumps to send water to the tower when the water level becomes low. Replacing the outdated computer that controls the system is included in the Rural Development loan the village is scheduled to receive next March, but officials said the system has been failing too often to ignore any longer.

"Every time it rains, the system fails," said Campbell. The computer is housed in an underground vault and communicates with the tower and pumps via a phone line.

"It's going to be a long winter if we have to go down there every time it snows," said trustee Scott Sowers. After Campbell informed the Council that a representative of Rural Development was 99 percent sure funds to replace the computer with a digital wireless version would be reimbursed-since it was already included in the upgrades listed for the loan — a motion to spend $ 15,000 to replace the old system was approved.

Advertising for village residents interested in serving on Village

Council has been placed in the papers three times, according to Campbell. Anyone interested in serving is encouraged to contact the village office. Last month, the Council accepted the resignation of trustee Marilyn Drenth, who has moved downstate following the death of her husband.

Trustee Karla Kammerer, the Council's Planning Commission representative, reported that the group is working on the village master plan and developing a new marijuana dispensary ordinance.

"It's going to take a few months to complete," she said. In other action, Campbell told Council that he has investigated the feasibility of having security cameras installed at the township hall, Community Park and Ellsworth River Park as a result of recent abuse of the pavilion, bathrooms and picnic tables. The cameras will cost $2,000 each but grants for up to $5,000 are available through the Village's insurance company. He will continue researching the available funding process.

The next Ellsworth Village Council meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Oct. 12 at the Banks Township Hall.

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