by Larry J Pellet
Villagers of Fruitport will soon have some welcomed improvements coming to their beloved town, as council members have voted unanimously to pass Resolution No. 2019-3 allowing for the resurfacing of 3rd Ave, as well as new traffic signals to be installed, replacing the two current ones on the same corridor.
According to the meeting minutes incurred during their June 24th gathering, and subsequent released emails from the council, the project from Pontaluna to Park St. is slated to begin in the Spring of 2020, as part of a master plan layed out in 2015. To help fund the $605,300 project, federal grants have been obtained, and the levy has been raised from 5.5 mills to 7 mills. The additional tax raise will bring in an estimated $55,000, which will cost an extra $90 annually to each household.
Recent mill history indicates that the millage was reduced in 2006 due to national and local economic hardships, from 7.5 to 5.5 Mills. Despite financial struggles and turnover in personnel, the village has maintained an A+ financial rating that continues to this day.
Village officials note the decrease in federal funding both in recent years and seen as trending, as a hindrance to the publics wants and needs of such projects as improved sidewalks, newer construction equipment, landscaping and beautification projects and improved lighting along 3rd Ave.
The approved development, engineered by Prein-Newhof, also proposed adding curbs and gutters, as well as sewer and sanitation infrastructure, but council members voted down the idea due to adverse cost that would be accrued to property owners.
Last resurfaced in 1998, 3rd Ave has stood the test of time. An estimated 15,800 vehicles travel down the road daily in 2-way traffic. The new surfacing project will take 3-6 months to complete and is expected to last for up to 15 years. Due to resurfacing alone without curbs and gutters, access points to business and residential properties will not be reconfigured. However, traffic patterns will be altered to allow for construction and some backups could occur.
Of special interest are the new traffic signals, which will be synchronized to better improve traffic flow and are fully funded by federal dollars. The new signals will consist of more efficient LED lighting and will be biker and pedestrian friendly, with safer crossing mechanisms.
As for the list of improvements to Pomona Park, procurement and development of playground property, village signage and funding for lakefront activities and facilities, as well as the aforementioned projects, the council states, “to assure success in accomplishing the above cited projects to meet the communities needs and desires, it will require more community interaction, development, planning and local funding…smaller village funded projects will help mitigate the reduction of federal and state funding anticipated in the future.”
As always, copies of board minutes can be located on their website at www.villageoffruitport.com.