Council votes to approve community engagement statement

News Photo by Steve Schulwitz Christina Getachew made public comment at the Alpena Municipal Council meeting Monday urging council to help draft and implement an environmental sustainability plan. She handed each member of council a book with details about global warming.

ALPENA — The City of Alpena has been a participant of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s Redevelopment Communities program for several years, but changes to it have forced the city to develop plans to continue.

On Monday Alpena Municipal Council voted to approve a community engagement statement that outlines how the city will include the public during the decision-making process for projects.

Planning and Development Director Adam Poll said having the required plans in place will help to bolster the city’s chances when applying for grants, especially those from the MEDC.

“There are now a number of plans and processes we are required to have in place to become certified,” Poll said.

Poll said the community engagement statement allows anyone to see the efforts and various tools the city utilizes for public outreach. He said the city always has encouraged public input and participation and will continue to do so.

“We have always made efforts to engage the community as much as possible and included the public in the decision -making process. A centralized document describing these efforts has not existed,” he said. “By having these methods of engagement in one location, both the public and staff can better evaluate the current methods, as well as methods that could be used in the future.”

Some of the required plans the city already has in place but they have been updated, Poll said. He said zoning ordinances and a comprehensive plan and a capital improvement plan are a few examples.

In the statement there also is a list of key stockholders that the city works with often. It includes residents, the Alpena Area Chamber of Commerce, Target Alpena, the Alpena Downtown Development Authority, the Alpena Convention and Visitors Bureau. There also are utility providers, real estate professionals, churches and schools on the list.

Poll said the document will be available on the city’s website in the coming days.

In other business:

∫ Mayor Matt Waligora reappointed three residents to the planning commission. Clayton VanWagoner, Wayne Lewis and Blake Austin will each serve a three-year term.

∫ council voted to grant a request to allow the Huron Humane Society host a Home for the Howliday event fundraiser downtown.

∫ council approved a budget amendment for a new car camera for the Alpena Police Department.

∫ council approved paying bill totaling $422,881.

Steve Schulwitz can be reached via email at sschulwitz@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 358-5689. Follow Steve on Twitter ss_alpenanews.