Douglas City Council Goes Into Closed Session To Discuss Purchasing/Leasing Local Property
With City Attorney Philip A. Erickson and engineering firm Edgewater Resources’ President Gregory Weykamp on hand, the Douglas City Council meeting on Monday ended with a closed session to “consider the purchase or lease of real property.”
City officials said nothing about what land and/or buildings were involved, nor who the landowner was, nor did council take any action once it opened the public meeting.
The Kalamazoo Lake Harbor Authority selected Edgewater among a number of engineering firms to create a long-term plan to fix the siltation problem plaguing the harbor.
The City of Douglas also hired the firm, independently, for its master land-use planning expertise that will include featuring waterfront properties, the Blue Star Highway corridor, etc.
Other city business Monday night featured an all too familiar theme: the economically lagging downtown district.
Local business owner Tim Glinski—former Douglas Downtown Development Authority (DDA) member and former Village of Douglas president—went before council to provide his own account and views on the ongoing discussion relative to downtown, expressing a couple of concerns.
Co-owner of Thistle Gallery, Glinski was critical of a WZZM13 report on Jan. 28 featuring Douglas downtown and the Saugatuck-Douglas Business Association (S-D ABA), saying the news channel broadcast was “very selective” and biased because it focused too much on closed downtown businesses at the exclusion of stores that were open.
“He (the reporter) never bothered even talking to owners of the closed businesses,” noted Glinski.
He also noted the debate in town was so far mostly one-sided, being dominated by one specific local gallery owner—referring to fellow downtown business owner John Thomas but without mentioning his name— whom he disagrees with on several points.
Glinski said, for example, that he vehemently opposed the notion that government has no role in assisting downtown merchants.
“The DDA is sanctioned by the state law (of Michigan),” Glinski said, explaining the entity’s very raison d’être was to economically revitalize communities’ downtown districts, funding public improvements, helping to prevent deterioration and aid in development plans to attract business growth.
He was also critical of Thomas’ recommendation to restaurants and retailers not to shorten their hours during the off-season.
“Such an idea is simply nonsense. Staying open and paying wages (to employees) is a losing proposition when there are no customers in the winter.”
Nevertheless, Glinski does agree with many others leaders on one point.
“Breakfast and lunch (by full-service restaurants during the summer season) is key to bringing people here and keeping them (shopping) here the rest of the day.”