Community Center Future in Doubt

By Sue Moore

The Vicksburg Village Council should consider sale of its underused Community Center building at the northeast corner of Main and Prairie, Manager Ken Schippers said at the Council’s December meeting.

He asked the Council to think about the matter for 30 days and discuss it at the January meeting. He described a process of advertising, using sealed bids and setting a minimum price of $150,000 as the starting point.

“We might show favoritism to a purchaser who would utilize the building for a public purpose,” President Bill Adams commented. “Maybe it could be turned into lofts and people could live upstairs.”

Gail Reisterer, the newest council member, felt it would be too bad to lose the building with all of its history, but nice to see it utilized.

Following a closed meeting, the Vicksburg Village Council agreed to authorize real estate services of the Barton Group for the possible purchase of unidentified property with a retainer not to exceed $5,000. Then they authorized a subcommittee to investigate the needs and possibilities for senior housing in the village. Council members Julie Merrill and Gail Reisterer were asked to serve on this exploratory committee.

Schippers said he has been working with two consultants on consideration of a public safety model such as that in use in Kalamazoo, where one department contains fire suppression, policing and emergency medical services. Schippers told the council that Eric West has made a request to the village’s human resources committee to step down as police chief and go back to being a night patrol officer. The police department’s contracts are due to be negotiated in June 2016. West’s request was not granted at this time.

The council approved buying new LED lamps for the 102 poles that are cast iron, primarily on Main and Prairie Streets. They’re brighter but will be cheaper to operate. A grant has been obtained for half the cost. The fixtures should pay for themselves in under two years, Schippers said.

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