BERRIEN SPRINGS — Berrien Springs Village Council members will hold a workshop session later this month to discuss the village’s future. The session, open to the public, will be 5:30-6:30 p.m. Nov. 20 at the village hall.
“It will just be on one topic, on what direction we want the village to go,” Village President Milt Richter said Monday in announcing the workshop session. While open to the public, the session will not feature any audience comments or any council action.
“It will be a brainstorming session,” he said. “We’ll talk about where we stand now and where we want to go to make the village as good as it can be. We’ll talk about what direction we want to go, about festivals and what can be done to bring people in and creating new businesses.”
One item not on the table is creating a Downtown Development Authority. Richter said he and other village officials considered the idea but decided against pursuing it.
Council members held a similar session in April which Richter called “Dream the Dream.” Members spoke then about ways to attract people to the village, through everything from festivals to making the downtown more pedestrian and business friendly.
One item mentioned then has become a reality, as the village has entered into an arrangement with WNIT public television. The station produced an “Our Town: Berrien Springs” documentary that aired in August and is creating a number of underwriting spots showcasing the community.
Richter said Monday that a spot highlighting Shamrock Park and salmon fishing has already aired, and one showcasing the village’s “Kindle Your Christmas Spirit” celebration will air in coming weeks. The holiday celebration is scheduled for Dec. 12 this year in downtown Berrien Springs.
In action at Monday’s village council meeting, council members approved two bills from village engineers Fleis & VandenBrink. One is for the firm’s work on the Julius Street Outfall project, for $946.33, and the other is for $78,524 for the firm’s work on the village’s Wastewater Asset Management and Stormwater Asset Management Plans.
The village will be reimbursed for all the wastewater asset management plan costs and 90 percent of the stormwater asset management plan costs. The village received a state grant in 2017 to develop the plans to map out the village’s sewer and stormwater systems.
The village received $342,000 from the state and matched it with a $14,649 in local funds. It has had three years to spend the money on the mapping of the two systems as well as on identifying capital equipment and other needs.
In other business, the council approved once again placing a Christmas Care donation box in the village hall during November and December. Members also approved the renewal of the village’s five year state trunkline maintenance contract with the Michigan Department of Transportation.