Village Manager Cheri Lutz reported to the Schoolcraft Village Council that the Bud’s Bar liquor license has been seized by the state until the current owner pays taxes due on the property. The owner is currently refusing to do so. This has stalled attempts to purchase and reopen the bar, a long-time Schoolcraft watering hole.
Lutz added that Nonla Taqueria restaurant is interested in acquiring a DDA Class C liquor license but added that isn’t a possibility. The Village of Schoolcraft would have been required to put over $200,000 of investment into the Downtown Development Authority district to qualify over the last five years. That has not happened. Event licenses might still be possible, she explained.
Deb Christiansen presented proposals for the 2020 social calendar in Schoolcraft. She is promoting the Art Hop, a free monthly event put on by the Arts Council of Greater Kalamazoo. It joins businesses and artists for an evening of socializing, art appreciation, and music. The Arts Council is joining with other communities such as Richland and Portage to host a yearly Art Hop event. It has agreed to help Schoolcraft host a local event on May 1 if she could get a green light from the village. “The Schoolcraft Community Library will be exhibiting Schoolcraft student art in May, and the Library would be one of the Hops,” Christiansen said. “It will be a great way to showcase our local talent.” The Arts Council will also provide a musical group to perform in Burch Park that evening. Christiansen was given a thumbs up for the project.
Village Council President Keith Gunnett introduced the new police chief, Scott Boling. He has 25 years of law enforcement in VanBuren and Kalamazoo counties. Boling introduced his wife, Heather, and his three daughters. His son is a freshman at Western. “I’m very excited to transition to the village of Schoolcraft. It’s a great community and I’m looking forward to it and looking forward to making advances, working with people, and getting to know everybody,” Boling said. His proposed start date is April 20. He will be retiring from the Kalamazoo Public Safety department in early April.
Drew Johnson is the new executive director of South County Community Services (SCCS). He updated the council on activities in 2019 and what he predicts will happen in 2020. The agency is located in Vicksburg on Spruce Street and serves the entire south county area including Prairie Ronde, Schoolcraft, Brady, Wakeshma, Climax and Pavilion townships. Johnson said its biggest program is emergency financial assistance. Its main focus is to fill in the gaps left by other programs and services that are not available to area residents.
In 2019, SCCS hired a new transportation coordinator, Tamra Stafford, and saw an improvement in ride services in the area. Also hired was a new emergency assistance coordinator to replace Johnson. In 2020, there are plans to hire a senior outreach coordinator to take over the position held by Diane Durian.
“We are looking this year for more penetration. In a rural area, it’s hard to make sure that people know about our services,” Johnson said. “Approximately a third of the population of South County would qualify for our services if they needed them and yet they don’t know about us.”
The Village donates annually to SCCS. The amount of $3,100 was approved to support the people of Schoolcraft Village.
Keith Gunnett stated in his president’s report that there was a finance committee meeting to talk about the budget. The committee is hammering away on the budget. “We ruled out budgeting for an audio system for the council,” Gunnett said, “so everyone will need to talk louder so that everyone can hear.”
Gunnett will be setting up a special meeting to go over a timeline for sewer system financing and construction.