Lack Of Lighting On City-Leased Parking Lots Causes Douglas Officials Concern
Property owners lease the parking lots behind the northside of Center Street to the City of Douglas for the benefit of the public.
But that arrangement is not all rosey, as pointed out by city officials on Monday.
The Douglas City Council is concerned the paved parking lot spaces behind Respite coffee shop at 48 Center St., the Sheridan building at 62 Center St., and the building at 35 Center St., lack any streetlights.
At the center of the ongoing discussion is how that lack of lighting presents a possible safety hazard for the public and a liability issue for the city.
The issue was discussed Monday at the Douglas council meeting, but no definitive, solid plan was advanced as a means of addressing it.
“I may be crying wolf here because I don’t know if there has ever been an incident, but I’d rather be proactive than reactive,” noted Douglas City Council Member Gerald Schmidt.
Douglas City Manager Bill LeFevere told the council the city’s existing lease with the property owners does not have any provisions to provide for lights.
“We could encourage them (the property owners to install lights),” said LeFevere.
Council Member Bill Japinga echoed his concern.
“It’s just pitch black back there and sooner or later somebody is going to fall down,” said Japinga.
He suggested not renewing the lease without first providing for a stipulation to deal with the lighting problem.
In other city business, Councilman Schmidt reported that Saugatuck Township “seems receptive and enthusiatic” about joining the Kalamazoo Lake Harbor Authority.
However, Schmidt, who on Monday night was apppointed by the council as an alternate member to the authority, said the matter demanded further discussion to smooth out details such as how much funding the township would be expected to contribute and what woud be the township’s role.
For example - as pointed out by Council Member Lisa Greenwood, one of two Douglas representatives on the authority board -the authority must consider that all the work to be done for the proposed phase one, emergency dredging is within the boundaries of Saugatuck and Douglas, not the township.
That project calls for five or six channels to be carved out in the river to allow watercraft to easily navigate.
“None of the channels are in the township,” said Greenwood.
So far, the township’s participation has been limited, only represented by a liaison on the five-member authority board and having no voting power.
The authority is currently officially composed of two members from Douglas and two members from Saugatuck.