Saugatuck Officials Open To Lifting Moratorium On Public Memorial Donations
For some years the City of Saugatuck has had a moratorium on public memorial donations—such as engraved benches gifted to the city in remembrance of a loved one or historical figure—but city officials announced Monday they want to open that opportunity again to the public.
However, before proceeding, they want to first establish guidelines for the acceptance, placement and long-term maintenance of requests for memorial donations in parks and other public spaces.
“We do have some need (for memorial benches or tables) and there are those that want to donate them,” Saugatuck City Manager Kirk Harrier told the council, suggesting, for example, engraved picnic tables at Oval Beach.
“It could be a win-win for the community because the taxpayers don’t have to pay for them,” he said.
The guideline policy proposal was before council on Monday for a vote, but members concurred it would be prudent to further review the matter and clarify the language. They decided to table the issue until the next council meeting.
“We haven’t had a chance to discuss it,” said Saugatuck City Council Member Barry Johnson.
He said he entrusted the city manager with providing the council with sound guidelines, but at the same time did not want to “burden” Harrier with a task that requires review and input from a number of persons.
“The sample form (for guidelines) here doesn’t seem user-friendly. Those changes could be easily done,” said Saugatuck City Council Member Bill Hess.
One immediate element council found controversial in the sample guideline provided by city staff advised only permitting memorials of persons with “longstanding ties to the Saugatuck community.”
That idea would need to be defined and mulled over, council members concurred.
In other city business from Monday night, the Saugatuck City Council approved the appointment of Jim Muir to the Construction Board of Appeals. Muir is also the current chair of the Saugatuck Planning Commission.
Michigan law requires all governmental units that enforce the Michigan Construction Code to establish a construction appeals board.
The board now has four members with an indefinite term.
In other news, the city will be hosting a public hearing on the proposed 2017-2018 budget on June 26 at 7 p.m. at Saugatuck City Hall.
All are invited to come and participate in the budget discussion.