City officials identify, prioritize sites for redevelopment

Members of the Manistee City Council; the City of Manistee Historic District Commission and the Manistee Main Street Downtown Development Authority met Tuesday during the council's work session to narrow a list of over 40 city properties down to between five and 10. The list is being compiled for the Michigan Economic Development Corporation Redevelopment Ready Communities program. (Sean Bradley/News Advocate)

Members of the Manistee City Council; the City of Manistee Historic District Commission and the Manistee Main Street Downtown Development Authority met Tuesday during the council’s work session to narrow a list of over 40 city properties down to between five and 10. The list is being compiled for the Michigan Economic Development Corporation Redevelopment Ready Communities program. (Sean Bradley/News Advocate)

MANISTEE — During the Manistee City Council work session Tuesday, council members and city officials came together to narrow a list of properties for redevelopment from over 40 properties down to nine.

The list includes City Drug on 401 River St.; the former Glik’s building on 400 River St.; the vacant Hotel Chippewa building on 80 Pine St. and the Rodeway Inn on 200 Arthur St.; and Joslin Cove, located on U.S. 31 and Arthur Street.

Led by City of Manistee planning and zoning administrator Denise Blakeslee, the city is responsible for maintaining a list of five to 10 high-priority redevelopment sites for the Michigan Economic Development Corporation Redevelopment Ready Communities (RRC) program, into which the city was accepted in March of 2014.

Before the meeting, attendees — city council members; city historic district commission members; city zoning board of appeals members and others — were asked to rank the initial list of 39 properties in order of their redevelopment importance and include their vision for properties. Additional properties were added to the list during discussion.

Attendees of the meeting were asked to create a top three list from the listed properties and discuss why they chose them.

Marlene McBride, a member of the city’s planning commission and brownfield redevelopment authority, suggested the GT Tire building at 305 River St. and the Little Caesars building at 91 Arthur St. to be redeveloped.

“I would like to try to clean up U.S. 31 so that when you’re coming into town, you don’t have all these empty, or half-fixed up, buildings,” McBride said of the Little Caesars building.

T. Eftaxiadis, a member of the city’s historic district commission, suggested the Hotel Chippewa building.

“I think that’s the most developable,” Eftaxiadis said. “It can be financed and due to the proximity to the marina, I think it has the potential for good mixed use.”

He also suggested the Rodeway Inn, saying the property should be redeveloped for visibility reasons.

City of Manistee mayor pro tem James Smith suggested the vacant lot at 25 Arthur St., saying because it is a vacant lot, it would be easy to develop.

Smith, who said that he drove around the city and looked at each property on the list before the meeting, also suggested Joslin Cove for redevelopment.

Blakeslee said the criteria given to her by the RRC program for choosing the properties were very broad.

“They’re looking for something for development for commercial use,” Blakeslee said. “They actually prefer a mix of commercial and residential uses, if possible. They did not give me a lot of criteria to work with.”

After the meeting concluded, Blakeslee said the list will have to be maintained and re-analyzed annually from now on as part of the RRC program.

“I think it was a great starting point and a great exercise for everybody to go through,” she said.

After the list was finalized, the property owners will now be asked if they wish to participate in the promotion of their properties and, if they decline, their property will be removed from the list.

Coordinators of the RRC program will market up to three sites in the city for redevelopment at conferences around the state.

The next city council meeting will be at 7 p.m. on July 7 at council chambers at Manistee City Hall at 75 Maple Street in Manistee.

The next city council work session will be at 7 p.m. on July 14 at council chambers at Manistee City Hall.

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Posted by Sean Bradley

Sean is the city and cops and courts reporter for the News Advocate, he also is in charge of the entertainment and Reasons to Celebrate pages. He can be reached at (231) 398-3109 or sbradley@pioneergroup.com.

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