The state wants the city of Caro’s proposed farmers market to be green.
Not the color green, mind you, but as in more environmentally friendly.
The Michigan Economic Development Corp., which is funding the bulk of the farmers market the city plans to build, wants to see some green developments, like solar panels, high-efficiency fixtures and bioswales, along with two permanent restrooms and a bus stop.
Bioswales are gently sloped channels designed to concentrate and convey storm water runoff while removing debris and pollution. They typically include vegetation.
H2A Architects of Davison – partners Jackie Hoist, Sheri Ananich and George Ananich – are reworking the city’s original plans for the farmers market before resubmitting them to MEDC. The MEDC indicated the city could get a $1 million grant to build the farmers market if it includes those amenities. As it is, the city is poised to receive at least $900,000 in MEDC funds for the project.
City manager Michael Silverman told the city council, in a memo that was part of Monday’s meeting that he’s working with both H2A and Rowe Inc. of Lapeer to get those plans finalized and submit them to the MEDC.
The original plans, drawn up with help from engineers from Rowe, call for a 30-by-60-foot open-frame, heavy-timber shelter for vendors, with two single-occupancy restrooms, vendor parking, food truck parking, a bus stop, a bike shelter and more community gathering space.
City officials previously were told adding permanent restrooms and making other changes would merit additional MEDC funding for the project.
Because the plans have to be revised and resubmitted, and because the city still is in the process of completing an environmental assessment of the site – the former Stephens Tire store at 238 S. State St. – construction won’t begin until the spring or summer of 2020.
Stephens Tire Services has moved to new digs at 1200 W. Caro Road (M-81) at the southern end of the city.
While MEDC grants come in all sizes and are handed out for projects all over the state, from Hancock to Adrian, this is one of the larger grants. The MEDC helped with a similar project in downtown Escanaba in 2017, creating the Escanaba Market Place through a $501,400 grant and $565,000 in Escanaba DDA funds.
In Caro’s case, the MEDC grant is funding nearly all of the project. The city is expected to cover 10 percent of the total cost.
The city council also:
• Heard from Downtown Development Authority chairman Mike Bauerschmidt about replacing some of the burned-out streetlights in the downtown area. The city is working to replace those lights with light-emitting diode lamps.
“The city has been moving in that direction for a while,” said Silverman. “Some of the lights were installed in the early 2000s and late 1990s. So we are just continuing to upgrade and update that system.”
• Approved the Caro Winter Fest contract. The festival, under new leadership, is planned for Feb. 6-10 at the Tuscola County Fairgrounds in Caro. It will include Midwest International Racing Association snowmobile races Feb. 8-9, a chainsaw-carving competition, food vendors, entertainment and a beer-and-wine tent.
• Approved hiring Rowe Inc. to provide technical assistance during construction of the M-81/VanGeisen Road sidewalks at a cost not to exceed $5,700. Construction is slated to begin in late August.
• Approved adding new clerk-treasurer Sara Savage to the list of those eligible to sign checks for the city.
• Approved renewing two $250,000 certificates of deposit with Frankenmuth Credit Union. The two CDs were worth $257,120.71 thanks to 1.69 percent interest. The new 24-month CDs will earn 2.31 percent interest.
Mark Haney is a staff writer for The Advertiser. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.