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Tecumseh City Council action ends year on positive note

By
JIM LINCOLN

Tecumseh City Council ended its last meeting of 2020 with a positive bang Monday with the announcement of a major construction project at the Tecumseh Business and Technology Campus (TBTC); approval of a Planned Unit Development (PUD) for a multi-family residential project; acceptance of a Russell Road corridor plan; acceptance of a pavilion donation for Evans Park; and four appointments to two city commissions.

Mayor Jack Baker led the meeting with the pledge of allegiance, followed by a moment of silence in honor of fallen Tecumseh Police officer Darrin Briggs.
Highlights of the meeting were:

• A purchase and development agreement was unanimously approved between the city and Vito Serra, owner of Casa Villa Construction of Clinton, LLC, based in Clinton Township, Mich., for a 6.75- acre lot at the Business and Technology Campus, the first and only project to break ground at the industrial park in over 12 years.

The agreement results in the sale of the lot for one dollar to Serra, who has agreed to construct a 20-25,000 square foot spec building starting in the spring pending a site plan approval by the Planning Commission.

“After a number of years struggling to secure developer interest in the TBTC, city staff believes this is a good way to spark interest in the campus as there are numerous examples of how activity on a site attracts other investment,” said City Manager Dan Swallow in his report to council. “Having a completed building ready for occupancy will likely attract a business which will make further investment in finishing the building and bring new employment to the city,” he said.

Serra, who is well known to the city as the developer of Bonner Hills, said, “I’m very  glad to work with this town, and I hope I don’t disappoint anybody.
Councilman Ron Wimple commended Serra for the “good job and vision” his company has delivered at Bonner Hills.

• Woda Cooper Development received council approval for a PUD to develop the current administration building and one-time high school for Tecumseh Public Schools for a multi-family residential complex. The historic building at 212 N. Ottawa Street will be renovated to provide 24 one-bedroom units; 14 two-bedroom units; and five three-bedroom units.  To incentivize the project, council approved a Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) ordinance that replaces annual property taxes with fee equal to two percent of annual rents paid by tenants.

•  Council adopted a Russell Road Corridor Plan to assist with future development on Russell Road, from Evans Street to Rogers Highway. The plan sets a vision and sets future land use standards to help transition the corridor from traditional industrial to a flexible commercial-industrial district.

• Council accepted a donation of a pavilion for Evans Park, located next to the Red Mill Pond bridge, from Timbercraft, of Tecumseh.  The donation was first considered in September when concern was raised over the cost of installation. “After working with the city’s Department of Public Works, we were able to reduce the costs significantly, making the project more palatable,” Swallow said. Installation costs, including site furnishing such as waste receptacles and signage, were reduced from an estimated $40,000 to $29,000.

• Appointments of Brent Gnodtke and Ed Engles to the Planning Commission were approved; as well as the re-appointments of Jim Hammand to the Planning Commission and Michele Garner to the Election Commission.

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