KENDRA NICHOLS, owner of Elite Early Learning Center on S. Washington Street, was one of a few residents expressing concern over street special assessments during the Owosso City Council meeting on Monday, Oct. 15. Nichols has been assessed for over $9,100 for the 210-foot portion of S. Washington Street where her business is located.
S. Washington Street and Palmer Avenue were the two streets discussed during Monday evening public hearings in what is just one part of the process for road resurfacing and reconstruction in Owosso.
Nichols expressed that she is worried over the exorbitant amount given that the profit margin in her type of business is not large. She also questioned how long the project might take given that Elite has limited parking. Glenn Chinavare, the public utilities director, estimated that it would take three or four months in the spring.
(Independent Photo/Karen Mead-Elford)
by Karen Mead-Elford, co-editor
Two street special assessments are moving ahead in the process after being approved by the Owosso City Council during the Monday, Oct. 15 meeting in council chambers. Palmer Avenue (from Gute Street to Prindle Street) is slated for street resurfacing. A second public hearing for S. Washington Street (from Gute Street to Corunna Avenue) for street rehabilitation/reconstruction was also on the agenda. A number of residents voiced their concerns related to the special assessments, including Lucas Allen who lives on Palmer Avenue. Allen, who is a recently new homeowner, received an assessment for $2,894 and explained to council “it seems a little scary…” Council explained to him, as they have to numerous people in similar situations, that is was possible to spread the payments out over a 10-year period. Glenn Chinavare, public utilities director, shared that this was the opportune time to restore Palmer Avenue before the street becomes a complete reconstruction project in the future, which would make assessments even higher.
Kendra Nichols, owner of Elite Learning Center on S. Washington Street, and Steve Willis, a S. Washington Street property owner since 2003, also voiced concerns regarding the city proposal for street rehabilitation/reconstruction. Nichols shared she is grateful for the 25 percent reduction on her assessment due to her property being on a corner, but urged council to think very carefully before moving ahead on the project. “We really need to think about this,” she said.
Willis questioned the need for the S. Washington Street work since the street had just seen work done when he bought his property fifteen years ago – particularly the water main. He admitted that he was not an engineer, but some research that he had done had led him to question the necessity of the proposed water main work.
SEDP President/CEO Justin Horvath, also a S. Washington Street property owner, took a different path in recognizing the need for the project. “It’s a major gateway to downtown Owosso,” he said. He suggested that council might want to search for additional funding or grant sources, if possible.
Both Palmer Avenue and S. Washington Street will have further discussion periods in upcoming meetings. Council members and the media are generally supplied with fairly detailed information from Glenn Chinavare, public services director, regarding street special assessment projects. The Monday, Oct. 15 meeting represented the third step in the street assessment process. Step No. 4 will take place after bids are received and another public hearing will be planned. Step No. 5 will finalize the special assessment. The public hearing at this point will “allow affected citizens the opportunity to argue whether or not the amount of their assessment is fair.”
The Monday, Oct. 29 meeting was cancelled due to a lack of agenda items.