(Independent Photo/Karen Mead-Elford)


  The annual State-of-the-County Topics@Twelve networking event on Tuesday, April 26 was hosted by the Greater Durand Area Chamber of Commerce and the Shiawassee Regional Chamber of Commerce at the Durand Union Station. A number of local dignitaries and community supporters attended the luncheon and presentations.

   Shown speaking is Owosso City Manager Nathan Henne. Special speakers also included Corunna Mayor Chuck Kerridge and Durand Mayor Ken McDonough. All three speakers offered current information and updates connected to the cities they represent. This state-of-the-county event has not been held since prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, so Tuesday’s event marked a return following a three-year absence.

   Corunna Mayor Chuck Kerridge shared Corunna is currently applying for a “big grant” for McCurdy Park for the possible addition of another restroom. He offered that Corunna now has a “lot of new homes” to offer with 26 new builds just entering the housing market. Kerridge also stated that the popular 4th of July fireworks show expenditure went up from $11,000 to $19,000 for 2022 – an enormous increase. Apparently, fireworks are not going to be as easily accessible as in previous years, but Kerridge was happy to share Corunna’s fireworks tradition will continue. He also mentioned the new canoe and kayak launch and the closure of the longtime dam project – beautiful community assets.

   “It’s very nice to see some people with different needs get to use the river,” Kerridge said. The Corunna canoe/kayak launch is ADA compliant, though it was somewhat damaged due to ice flow. It will soon be operating again. “My goal is to see more people use the river to go from Corunna to somewhere else.”

   Durand Mayor Ken McDonough, who recently entered to campaign for the county commissioner district 4 seat, highlighted Durand’s upcoming Railroad Days Festival from May 12 through May 15: always an enormous and popular event for the city. He also discussed that more rocking chairs will soon be available downtown and the ongoing edible gardens project, which has been so well received by the community and supported through numerous volunteers.

   “There is a lot going on in Owosso,” Owosso City Manager Nathan Henne started his presentation, beginning with the aged water and sewer infrastructure and the recent city council vote to approve a rate increase toward major, long-term improvements. He mentioned previous Sanitary Sewer Overflows (SSOs) into the river, sharing that Owosso “has taken the lead on improving our wastewater system so that we aren’t discharging. We’ve put about $5 million into the plant in the last couple years, so that investment has stopped our metered SSOs that faced the Shiawassee every spring. The plant needs about $26 million more in investments over the next five years and we have that commitment now. The good news is that it is not always going to be born by the ratepayers. A lot of it is, certainly, but with what is going on at the federal and state levels, all this money being thrown around, we’re doing our best to take advantage of that and so far we’ve been successful.” Henne also mentioned that Owosso “will be enjoying” about $5 million in grants and forgivable loans in the next year for infrastructure improvements. It should be noted the $5 million in grants for water infrastructure includes both grants/forgivable loans and ARPA funds approved through council. 

   Other topics Henne highlighted included the newly combined North Street Owosso Public School District campus, street and water main improvements, along with a potential grant the city applied for to improve sidewalks for “Safe Roots to School” through the state and council approval of hiring two police officers in a partnership with the school district. The city is awaiting approval on the “Safe Roots to School” grant. 

   The sponsor for the event was SpringVale Christian School. Head Master John Camero shared that students from the school will be presenting a music performance at 7 p.m., Thursday, May 19 at Durand Union Station. Donations will be accepted at the door.

   Event emcee was Bart Harris of State Farm Insurance. TastyBits Catering provided the lunch.

Durand and Owosso Chambers Host Annual State-of-the-County Event was last modified: May 3rd, 2022 by Karen Elford