November 24, 2014

Deadline for Omer library bathroom renovations loom

City purchases new library open sign, interested in repairing streetlights

By Kevin Bunch
Staff Writer | news@arenacindependent.com

Posted
201 E. Center
Omer, MI 48749
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OMER — Renovation work on the womens’ bathroom at the Omer Little Eagle’s Nest Library likely needs to be completed by Nov. 1 for the city to receive grant assistance, Omer City Councilman Robin Berry said during the city’s Oct. 23 council meeting.

Work on the bathroom got underway early in October. The city is interested in upgrading both bathrooms to be handicapped accessible, and decided to put its efforts toward the womens’ room this year rather than do both at once. Otherwise, it would only be able to afford one stall in the womens’ room.

The project was estimated at $9,726 by Berry at the Sept. 25 council meeting, and $5,000 comes through a grant from the Iosco-Arenac District Library. However, Berry believes work needs to be completed before they can get the grant, and the deadline is fast approaching.

“As far as I know, we need to be finished by November 1st to get the money,” Berry said.

He said the work should only take a couple more days, but with a week until the end of the month, he was concerned the contractor would be unable to complete it.

To ensure the project has no hang-ups on the city’s side, the council unanimously approved a measure to give Berry the authority to make decisions on the work.

Mayor Alice Sproule believed that Iosco-Arenac District Library Director Stephanie Olson would be willing to work with the city on the project to ensure they get funding for it.

The rest of the project money is to come from the city’s library fund. The council intends on renovating the men’s bathroom next year.

The council also agreed to purchase a new library sign to denote when the building is open. The double-sided neon sign would be attached to the library’s name sign along US-23, and Berry said ideally a switch in the library itself would control it.

The library currently has a sign in the window, but the city has replaced it multiple times since its installation due to it breaking down. Berry said the new sign is built for an outdoor placement and has a one-year warranty in case it breaks down. The estimated cost for the sign is $699.

Berry said there was no rush to purchase a new sign, adding the city would likely need to hire an electrician to run an underground wire to it. However, council decided to move forward with a new sign now. Sproule said the city had the money available to purchase the sign.

“We should purchase it now,” Councilwoman Revia Stewart said. “Why put it off?”

In other council action, Councilmen Jim Steward and Larry Daly said they would put their heads together to figure out a course of action for two light poles that stopped working.

The city has five poles that are out of service. Of those, three simply have burned-out light bulbs, which the council is looking to replace. The other two, located near the train tracks and the other near the LaLonde property, simply will not light up.

Daly said he believed new electrical wires should be installed to the non-functional poles, since city workers could not find any physical problems with the wiring.

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