REPRESENTATIVES FROM THE OWOSSO MASONIC Lodge #81 made a formal donation of $10,000 to Owosso Parks and Recreation during the city council meeting on Monday evening. The money is to go toward the Owosso Skate Park. Mike Espich took a moment to share with everyone that “we’ve done it!” As of Monday, April 30, Owosso Parks and Recreation had gathered over $50,000 in contributed funds to be equally matched by a grant to begin construction of the skate park within Grove Holman Park. The project will now have over $100,000 (combined total) to start building.
The Owosso Masonic Lodge #81, chartered over 161 years ago, presented the oversized $10,000 check they accrued through multiple fundraising projects, to parks and recreation members Randy Woodworth, Mike Espich and Mayor Eveleth. For generations, the Masons have been active in supporting this community.
(Independent Photo/Karen Mead-Elford)
by Karen Mead-Elford, co-editor
“I just can’t think of a better example of the community coming together,” Owosso Mayor Chris Eveleth stated during the city council meeting on Monday, April 30, after being presented with three separate donations for the skate park. “This really goes to show we live in a caring community.” Donations from students at Central and Bryant Elementary Schools and a $10,000 check from the Owosso Masonic Lodge #81 were given to Owosso Parks and Recreation, which with the matched grant, will now have $100,000 to begin construction on the Grove Holman Park skate park project.
Owosso Parks and Recreation Chairman Mike Espich also passed on information to council about seeking volunteers to help with the annual parks clean-up planned for Saturday, May 12.
The only item of business during the Monday evening meeting was to consider the termination of the current contract with Century 21 Looking Glass for broker services related to the city-owned properties in Osburn Lakes, in the northeastern corner of Owosso. Council member Burton Fox urged the council to “consider thinking out of the box a little” to move the sale of the properties along. A gray area was inadvertently created recently when broker Kori Shook, who had previously handled the Osburn Lakes sales, had left Century 21 to start her own business, and broker Shannon Howansky, currently working for Century 21, had stepped in to handle the assigned listings. The underlying message to council, beyond any legal considerations regarding the brokerage of Osburn Lakes, is the absolute need for real estate development in Owosso. With the recent economic upswing, the passing of the school bond, and ongoing infrastructural improvements, Owosso is facing an enormous housing shortage crisis as the city is transitioning an increase in job growth.
The Owosso-owned Osburn Lakes development has faced previous issues regarding HOA fees, signage, the nearby wetland disclosure, and more, leading to another discussion amongst council members on Monday. Ultimately, council decided to void the current contract and move forward by interviewing all interested parties with the plan of making the interview results available on Monday, June 4.
Council continued on with the planned budget workshop, led by retiring finance director, Karen Ruddy. The budget workshop for council members was organized for both Monday and Tuesday evening. The process of establishing the city budget actually started in December and includes a thorough analysis of the prior budget in comparison to the budget projected for the current year. The proposed budget is reviewed by both the city manager and the finance director, prior to being brought before council for approval. Ruddy offered council an illustrative PowerPoint presentation, along with a hard copy of the 2018-19 proposed budget.
The next regular city council meeting is planned for Monday, May 7.