By Sue Moore
It’s neat to learn that Matt Weddon is getting kudos at Michigan State University for his piano playing expertise. One would hope that someday his talent would be recognized by the Gilmore Keyboard Festival and bring him back to his hometown as a Gilmore Artist to perform for the home crowd (see story about him on page ?).
Mary Balkema Running for County Treasurer Again
Vicksburg has several large properties and some small ones that have reverted to the Kalamazoo County Land Bank which Mary Balkema, as county treasurer controls. Her efforts have been well received and appreciated by the village of Vicksburg in taking care of the abandoned Simpson Paper Company, the former Fox River Paper Company. The next large piece of property her office received in foreclosure was the Long Branch Saloon on Spruce Street. She has just turned the buildings and land over to the village in an effort to return it to the tax rolls. Similarly, in Schoolcraft the old Churchill gas station has been remediated and put up for sale.
Balkema applied for the position of Kalamazoo County Executive, but didn’t get the nod, with the board preferring to go with an administrator from Iowa. Our villages are fortunate that she has decided to run for a third term as treasurer because she has been a good friend to South County. Plus, she shows up for village events, such as serving as judge for the Christmas parade, and marching in Schoolcraft’s 4th of July parade. She has even been noticed lifting a brew or two at the Lions Club Summer Festival.
New Roof on the Old Township Hall
Vicksburg Roofing and Siding was the very low bidder on a new roof for the old yellow township hall that is part of the Historic Village. The Historical Society and village knew the roof was going to need attention, even when the building was moved from Davis Street to the Historic Village six years ago. There just wasn’t enough money to do the job at that time. Now it had deteriorated to the point of desperation, so in the era of intergovernmental cooperation, Brady Township kicked in half of the cost and the village of Vicksburg the other half to re-roof the building. Dan Gettle and his crew finished the work, just before the weather turned foul over the holidays.
This too has been a project waiting to get done. The Lions Club volunteers have oiled the lumber that was cut by Richard Barnes to be installed on the north end and the east side to protect the pavilion in the Historic Village from further water damage. Frederick Construction has volunteered its work crew that put up the south end and part of the north end to finish the job. They are now waiting for better weather. This company has been so helpful in every phase of the building out of the pavilion, volunteering to manage the construction plans and volunteering their workmen to help in several phases of the project.
Update on Wi-Fi Installation
Andrew DeVries climbed the water tower before Christmas and took some amazing pictures from 40 feet above the ground looking down on the village of Vicksburg. This was a practice run to determine what antennas that had been hanging there for many years and bring them down if possible. Then the weather took a turn for the worse, but the DeVries brothers (Steve is his helper) expect to have things working around the central business district very soon.
It’s a scary climb inside the tower and then getting out on the side rail because the landing is actually curved. They will install their own antenna plus receiving equipment on the light poles downtown so visitors can access the village’s Internet portal for free.