CALUMET - The village of Calumet Board of Trustees got an offer they couldn't refuse during their regular meeting Tuesday.
During public comment period before the agenda items were addressed, Bill Leder and Bill Baxandall, Michigan Technological University adjunct professors of civil and environmental engineering, told the trustees a senior design class at Tech would be willing to do free of charge a survey of the village for a Complete Streets plan, which would include all forms of transportation, including bicycles and walking.
Leder said the class did a similar project for the city of Hancock last year, which turned out well.
The plan could include finding ways for village residents to do chores, such as going to the new Louie's Supermarket being constructed on U.S. 41.
"If people want to walk there are there sidewalks there?" he asked.
Leder said if the trustees want to hear from the students about their previous efforts doing a Complete Streets plan or how they may do it in Calumet, they can come to a future council meeting to answer questions.
Village Comptroller Sue Dana asked if the students would work with existing village boards, and Leder said they would.
"If you have a planning commission, that would be an ideal way for us to work," he said.
Baxandall said if the project went ahead, it would give the village something to work with for any future planning.
"It provides the village with documentation of what's there," he said.
Village President Dave Geisler said the proposed project gives students real-life experiences working with local governments, which could help them in their chosen careers.
Trustee Doug Harrer said the project may provide information the council could use for future planning.
"I think it's a great idea to implement, as long as we can afford it," he said.
Leder said the students have worked with local engineering firms, and those collaborations have gone well.
"We're not trying to take work from engineering firms," he said.
After the presentation by Leder and Baxandall, the trustees voted to have the Complete Streets project go ahead. Leder said it will start in January and finish in April.
Also addressing the trustees was Paul Lehto, Calumet Township supervisor, who said some village residents have been incorrectly saying he would be in favor of a proposed idea to have the village disincorporate.
Lehto said he is not in favor of the village disincorporating, largely because the village is able to get state road funds up to $113,000 per year, and the township can't.
"If this was not a village, that money would be gone," Lehto said.
Having those road funds available is also a benefit to township residents, Lehto said.
In other business, the trustees:
accepted a letter of intent from resident Tom Bowles to fill one of two vacant seats on the council. The council personnel committee will now consider Bowles' application.
approved a suggestion by Geisler to create a village newsletter to inform residents of village issues. The newsletter will be sent with village bills.
heard from Department of Public Works Director Steve Kellow work is continuing on the departments equipment in preparation for winter. Since the weather has been so mild early on, the equipment hasn't had to be used much, yet. He's also updating village snow removal contracts.
discussed an updated version of the DPW employment policy, which now includes no smoking on village property, and sleeping on the job is grounds for termination.
approved a $40 gift certificate to Louie's Super Foods as a Christmas bonus for village employees.