DOWAGIAC — The Dowagiac City Council has a new member after the resignation of Third Ward Councilman Charles Burling and the appointment of Randy Gross to fill the position.
Burling cited health reasons for his resignation. The Dowagiac dentist was appointed to the council in 2003 and was elected to the first of his four terms on the council later that year. He previously served on the city’s planning commission.
Gross’ appointment to the council means that he will take office a few months earlier than anticipated. Gross was the only person to file to run for the Third Ward council seat this November after Burling decided earlier to not run for re-election.
City Clerk Jane Wilson said incumbents Danielle Lucas and James Dodd were the only ones to file to run for the First and Second Ward seats, respectively. Wilson is not running for re-election to the clerk position. Those running for clerk are Bill Leonard and write-in candidate Patricia Patano.
Also this week, council members approved naming the new Cass Avenue park after Councilman Bob Schuur. Schuur has represented the Second Ward since November 1985.
Schuur has had a hand in a number of accomplishments during his tenure on the council, including the relocation of M-51 from the downtown, the downtown streetscape reconstruction, the demolition of the former middle school, and that site’s redevelopment into the Lyons Health Center.
Other projects mentioned included the relocation of the Dowagiac Area History Museum, the purchase and continuing development of Russom Park, the development of the James E. Snow Professional Building after the demolition of blighted buildings, and Riverside Cemetery improvements.
Schuur Park is a new park on Cass Avenue next to the Dowagiac Creek on the southeast side of the city. It includes a fishing platform, a small parking lot and landscaping. The project is being funded through a $175,000 Michigan Department of Natural Resources Trust Fund grant the city received in 2018, as well as local contributions.