By Jef Rietsma
Highway Street on Vicksburg’s south side and the non-motorized trail on the north side will be repaved this year.
Village council members at a mid-June meeting approved 2023-24 road work projects. Highway Street, part of the county’s W Street, will be resurfaced from village limit to village limit, Village Manager Jim Mallery said.
“That entire stretch will be a mill-and-fill, meaning it’s milled two inches and overlayed with asphalt, with the same curbing that’s currently there,” Mallery said. Battle Creek-based Lakeland Asphalt was the low bidder at $262,000.
Mallery said he drove all 21 miles of streets in the village with a representative from the Kalamazoo County Road Commission. He said they identified streets to schedule for crack-fill treatment in 2024.
Mallery said the village receives state-issued funding for care of major streets and a lesser amount from MDOT dedicated to local streets. He explained why some streets will receive attention before others.
“It would be our goal to not put asphalt down, knowing in a couple of years we would be digging up a sewer,” he said. “We’re holding off (on) Kalamazoo Avenue between Highway Street and Prairie Street due to the condition of the sewer (under Kalamazoo Avenue). We’re still identifying funds for that future project and a sewer that is directly under Kalamazoo.”
The non-motorized trail will be resurfaced from its start near North Street to TU Avenue. Mallery said the low bid was from Michigan Paving for $144,000. The trail will receive an overlay of about two inches of asphalt.
“They’ll blow out the cracks, fill the cracks then add overlay,” he said. “Then, on both sides of the new overlay they come back later and apply crushed (stone) on both sides to stabilize those edges.”
Mallery said both paving projects are to be completed before the end of the calendar year.
Mallery said he will provide a report early next year detailing local street projects eyed for 2024. As an example, he said street improvements are planned for areas not addressed in 2022 in the Trillium neighborhood, as well as for entryways into the original Allen Edwin plat off 22nd Street.
Council members considered and eventually approved a 4.5% raise for Scott Sanderson, police chief and assistant village manger; Michelle Morgan, director of finance and treasurer; and Christian Wines, village clerk.
Mallery said 4.5% is consistent on average with raises issued to counterparts in communities comparable in size to Vicksburg.
In addition, Mallery recommended increasing wages by $2.50 an hour for three DPW employees and an office staff member.
Concern was expressed about whether it might be ideal to pause raises and decide later whether such action is warranted. However, the majority of the council recognized the value in retaining employees, and the cost associated with losing a worker, then hiring and training a replacement.
Mallery provided a detailed explanation, confirming the village is in a position financially to support the proposed raises.
In other action:
Mallery said four additional outdoor tables will be purchased at a total cost of $14,000 for use downtown. Two are slated for Oswalt Park and two in the bump-out outside the Hideaway.
Mallery and council members commended Randy Schippers, a longtime village employee who has retired as Department of Public Works director. Mallery introduced Jim Meyers, a Mendon resident, as the village’s new director.
Council member Rick Holmes raised the idea of a permanent restroom facility in the downtown area.
Council President Tim Frisbie suggested consideration be given to the installation of pickleball courts. Holmes proposed working with Vicksburg Community Schools and inquiring about adding pickleball lines at the school district’s tennis court complex.
Mallery said the amount of online traffic on the village’s Facebook page increased significantly over the previous four weeks.
By Jef Rietsma