BERRIEN SPRINGS — Revitalizing the village continues to be a main focus of Berrien Springs Village Council members this year. On Monday members approved sidewalk seating outside a local restaurant and put out a call for people to serve on a new planning commission.

The village is asking those interested in volunteering on the new planning commission to contact the village offices. People who live in the village, as well as in Berrien and Oronoko townships, are welcome to apply for the new advisory body.

The impetus to establish a planning commission in the village came last fall from Trustee Jesse Hibler. Hibler attended a master planner class last fall and believes in the importance of the village having a planning commission.

Hibler said Monday that the commission’s focus will be the village’s master land use plan, and to make recommendations about it to the village council.

The council adopted a new master land use plan more than a year ago – the village’s first in 10 years. The new plan contains basic elements such as a community description, demographics, planning policy, future land uses and plan implementation.

Also Monday, council members agreed to allow Uptown Pizza to have outdoor seating on South Main and Ferry Streets during the spring and summer, pending approval by the village’s building inspector. “I think it would be really cool for the town to have this,” Hibler said.

Trustee Lonna Johnson abstained from the vote because the restaurant is owned by her husband. She did say that downtown businesses need more foot traffic and she’d like to see the village be a friendlier place to visit.

Hibler reported that the public properties and ordinance committee that he chairs is recommending new welcome signs be placed around the village. Current plans call for the welcome sign on M-139 next to the wastewater treatment plant south of the village be replaced and two new ones installed in other locations.

He said the two new signs would be installed on Snow Road on the west side of the village, as well as on M-139 on the village’s north side. The signs would have hooks where plaques announcing special seasonal events could be advertised.

In action left over from last year’s Shamrock Park flooding, council members approved the bid from D.A. D’Agostino to replace the Shamrock Park entrance drive at a cost of $87,401. Shamrock Park Committee Chairman Sandy Swartz said the work is expected to be done by Memorial Day and the cost will be reimbursed by the village’s insurance.