By Sue Moore
The Schoolcraft Village Council appointed Sy Spears to a vacant seat at its December meeting. He replaces Scot Dailey, who passed away suddenly last June.
Spears and his friend, Bret Willis, have spent the last two months circulating petitions among village residents and downtown businesses to determine if they want sewers in the village.
“We had a lot of good conversations with residents, even if they didn’t support the effort. The bottom line was dollars for most people. It’s tough to see how the cost of the sewers might affect the older residents. We are still canvassing the businesses because it has not been easy to find all the property owners. The project is up in the air and in a holding pattern until we can find out if the preliminary grant application is approved. Some residents are on the fence and might go for it if the grant is successful,” Spears said.
“The environmental impact of not having sewers over the many years” is what drives Spears in the direction of the sewer project, he said. “There just isn’t enough room for homeowners to expand in their yards because of the septic systems when houses are close together. Plus the downtown needs more flexibility that sewers will provide to bring in new businesses and new people to support those businesses.”
Willis and Spears have been friends since they met in second grade in Schoolcraft. They live just a couple of blocks apart in the village. Willis is like an uncle to the Spears’ two children, Tripp, 5, and Kennedy, 3. Spears and his wife, Kate, moved to Schoolcraft about three years ago, although Spears had been in the landscaping business with his father and mother long before that. They own Personal Touch Lawn and Landscaping just outside of Schoolcraft. They provide snow removal, mowing and leaf clean-up primarily to commercial properties. They are responsible for mowing all of Schoolcraft Township’s cemeteries. Spears graduated in 2000 and played football and baseball for the Eagles. He graduated from Western Michigan University with a degree in urban and regional planning.
His first contribution to the betterment of Schoolcraft was to serve on the planning commission. “It will take a lot of work to chart the future course. I’m open to different ideas and want to be flexible in our planning. This is our town and our community, so I feel we can come together and make a difference,” Spears said.
“Now, the village council and the community need to focus on where we are headed in the future. The vision planning will be important to see if we can come up with an identity for Schoolcraft.”