Thursday, May 14, 2020

Northville council considers programs to help businesses

During a recent virtual meeting of the Northville City Council, officials took action on several issues.
The council members approved a contract for $193,171 with Ram Construction of Livonia for improvements on the parking deck at MainCentre. The contract includes a 10-percent contingency budget of $19,317 for a not-to-exceed project total of $212,488. This is the second deck to undergo major work in the last year, officials noted. In fall 2019, Ram repaired and renovated the parking deck at the northeast corner of Cady and Center, coming in under budget and finishing sooner than planned, officials said. 
The council members also reduced fees for restaurant/café outdoor dining by 50 percent.
The fee reduction is effective for both the application and square footage fees. The reduction was an effort to assist businesses that suspended indoor dining operations due to the governor's Stay Home Stay Safe order in response to the COVID-10 pandemic. The city will issue refunds to restaurant/cafe owners who have already paid in full for 2020, officials said.
The purchase of a new street sweeper was approved at a price of $215,928, which includes a $9,000 trade in credit. The new machine is a new 2020 Elgin Pelican Sweeper purchased from Bell Equipment Company. The price was negotiated through the State of Michigan MiDeal public bidding program.
The equipment will be funded with $146,278 from committed racetrack breakage revenue in the general fund and $69,650 through the Downtown Development Authority, payable over 15 years, officials said.
Street sweeping is performed throughout downtown Northville regularly and twice yearly in residential areas. A full sweep of the city includes 25 miles, according to a city spokesman.
During the public comment portion of the agenda Brian Scherle and Paul Gabriel, co-owners of Brown Dog Parlor, suggested allowing restaurants to expand  outdoor seating on weekends to sidewalks, curbside parking spaces and potentially on the street. The streets could be closed to accommodate the effort to make the downtown area a fun, safe environment with the allotted physical distancing, they told council members.
DDA Director Lori Ward, who met previously virtually with other area DDA directors, also suggested that retailers be able to have sidewalk displays of merchandise when they reopen. Theresa Schierloh, owner of Dancing Eye Gallery, said she supports expanded outdoor retail sales and merchandising, and suggested adding more dedicated locations for curbside pick-up.
Council members discussed these suggestions and others in preparation for implementing new policies for reopening restaurant/retail business operations, although no action was taken.