Tag Archives: Wyoming City Council

Being environmentally conscious is just part of the city’s DNA, according to Wyoming mayor

One of the events the City of Wyoming hosts is its annual Community Clean-Up Day.

By Joanne Bailey-Boorsma

joanne@wktv.org

 

A recent discussion on whether to sign a pack on its comment to reduce greenhouse emissions has lead officials of the City of Wyoming to the discovery that the city does quite a lot in helping to reduce its carbon footprint and promote sustainability.

 

“It is part of our DNA,” said Mayor Jack Poll at a recent council meeting on June 19. “We are very conscious of everything we do in the City of Wyoming that we are as green as possible and save funds in different areas as best as possible.”

 

One of the items the city does not have is an inventory of all its efforts, which staff and officials are currently working to put together.

 

Many municipalities — locally and across the nation — have been having the discussion on greenhouse gases and carbon footprint on the environment as an outcome of President Donald Trump’s recent decision to pull the United States out of The Paris Agreement or Paris Climate Accord. This is an agreement within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change dealing with greenhouse gas emissions mitigation, adaptation and finance starting in the year 2020.

 

A reaction to this decision has been local residents asking their city and state representatives what those governments are doing to reduce emissions. Poll said several individuals have reached out to the City of Wyoming, asking where the city stands on this issue and have suggested agreements or packs the city could sign.

 

Wyoming residents and students help to make their community better.

“There are agreements out there now that they are asking the City of Wyoming to sign on to and some of those agreements if you go in and sign on, the City of Wyoming could be held financially responsible for not doing some things,” Poll said, adding city officials did not want to lock the city into something that it would not have a lot of control over.

 

However, by looking over such agreements as the Compact of Mayors, which was established in 2014 a year before the Paris Climate Accord was signed, city leaders found that within many of its own projects and various ones in the city, the city has been environmentally aware.

 

“The City of Wyoming has a long history of being environmentally conscious and it starts with things like our bio-solids land application program, our yard waste program that we have for disposal of yard waste and reuse of yard waste rather than disposing of it,” said City Manager Curtis Holt during the June 19 council meeting. “We recently have done things related to LED traffic lights. As many of you know we do a four-day week in the city of Wyoming and part of that was to close our buildings for one day a week and we have estimated in the past that has been a savings of roughly $50,000 a year in energy costs for the city.”

 

The city also has a formal sustainability policy that was developed a couple of years ago that the council takes into consideration on every resolution it adopts, using it as guidance related to the economic, social and environmental impacts of that particular issue that they are dealing with, Holt said. City officials also have seen a lot of LEED certification of buildings within the City of Wyoming.

 

“I am really very proud to live in a city that we do a lot of those things without out a formal agreement in place telling us to,” said Second Ward Council Member Marissa Postler. Postler said she would proposed the city make a compact with itself to keep track of what the city is doing, which is what she liked most about the Compact of Mayors was keeping track and being accountable.

 

The Compact of Mayors has four components to it, a city would have to register its commitment; take inventory on its current impact on climate change; create a reduction, targets and establish a system of measures; and establish an action plan within the city planning for how the city will make a commitment to reduce its greenhouse emissions and adapt to climate change.

 

Holt said he believes the City of Wyoming would do very well achieving the goals of something like the Compact of Mayors, however; there would be some costs involved in doing so.

 

None of the council members were in full support of spending dollars and some raised concerns about spending too much staff time on building the report, however; Poll said he believed it would not take that much time and would mostly those involve those who are handling various projects to put together an inventory of what the city is currently working on and what it has accomplished.

 

The Wyoming City Council July 3 meeting has been cancelled and the next city council meeting is July 17 at 7 p.m. at Southlawn Park, 4125 Jefferson Ave. SE.

Wyoming City Council approves tax exemptions for owners, tenant of former Klingman building

The former Klingman’s/Rogers Department Store at WKTV’s 2015 DreamWheels event.

By Joanne Bailey-Boorsma

joanne@wktv.org

 

The Wyoming City Council granted the requested tax exemptions for the new owner of the former Klingman’s/Rogers Department Store building and a future tenant of that building at its Monday night council meeting at Lamar Park.

 

Earlier this month, the council approved a commercial redevelopment act district which included the former Klingman’s building located on 28th Street. At last night’s meeting, the council received no comment at a public hearing for the commercial facilities tax exemption which was for GR 1001, LLC, owned by The Hinman Company, the owner of the former Klingman’s building. The exemption is for the redevelopment of the facility, located at 1001 28th St., SW and is for a period of 12 years. City staff noted that The Hinman Company would spend between $3 – $5 million in renovations on the site.

 

“The new roof is going up as we speak,” said Elizabeth Slane, regional property manager at The Hinman Company, during public comments at the meeting. Slane said they are excited about being a part of the City of Wyoming adding that her son currently lives in the city and that that her husband is a 1977 Wyoming Park graduate.

 

The Wyoming City Council also approved a personal property tax exemption for seven years for Advantage Sales & Marketing, a future tenant for the building. The exemption is for an estimated $845,000 in personal property for a duration of seven years with an option for an additional five years. Advantage Sales & Marketing plans to consolidate its two current offices, one in downtown Grand Rapids and the other in Cascade Township, which will bring an estimated 300 jobs along with adding another 100 new jobs.

 

Advantage Sales & Marketing is a sales and marketing company that was founded in 1987 in Southern California and now has 120 offices in the United States and Canada. Its only Michigan offices are in the Greater Grand Rapids area, according to its website.

 

An official from the company indicated that they too were excited to be a part of the City of Wyoming. According to reports from the city, renovations to the building are to be completed in January 2018 and Advantage Sales & Marketing has indicated it would move in at that time.

 

Opened by Hyman “Hy” Berkowitz in 1955, Rogers Department Store was touted as one of the largest department stores in Michigan. However changes in shopping and the opening of RiverTown Mall impacted the store, with it closing in 2005.  In 2008, Klingman’s, a furniture store, moved into the site, only to close two years later with the building being empty every since.

 

News broke of The Hinman Company’s interest in redeveloping the site when the company sent a letter to the city in May.

 

With first outdoor meeting a success, Wyoming eyeing next one for July

 

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By Joanne Bailey-Boorsma

joanne@wktv.org

 

It was a beautiful night to visit a park, have some ice cream and attend a Wyoming City Council meeting, which is what several people did on Monday evening at Lamar Park.

 

For the first time, the Wyoming City Council moved its meeting outdoors to the park in an effort to connect more with the citizens of Wyoming, according to Mayor Jack Poll. Those who attended were treated to an ice cream.

 

“This is just great,” Poll said from the stage as about the fourth citizen made his way up to the podium to speak. “This is just the type of forum we were hoping for.”

 

More than half a dozen residents made comments at the end of the meeting from thanking the city for help with such projects as the new light at 44th Street and Burlingame Avenue and working with the Wyoming Community Enrichment Commission on the Concerts in the Park programs to discussing topics of concern such as the Paris Accord, a concern over a home being rented out, and the condition of West Lake and West Pond.

 

“This is like a dream come true for me,” said Councilor Dan Burrill, who added he has enjoyed looking out from the stage, to the sights and sounds of the park while at the meeting.

 

“It is a great opportunity for us to get into our community,” Poll said, acknowledging that many people don’t always want to head indoors for a meeting, especially on a nice summer day.

 

The council followed its normal meeting procedures, starting at 7 p.m., with Poll explaining each segment, like he does at the regular council meetings. The council went through its regular agenda which included approving tax exemptions for GR 1001, LLC, which is taking over the former Klingman’s/Rogers Department Store and for Advantage Sales & Marketing which is planning to move its operations into the building around the beginning of 2018.

 

The council meets every first and third Monday of the month at 7 p.m. at its chambers in Wyoming City Hall, 1155 28th St. SW. The meetings are broadcast live on WKTV Channel 26 and rebroadcast at 7 p.m. Thursday and Friday.

 

The Wyoming City Council will host two more outdoor meetings this summer. The next is scheduled for July 17 at 7 p.m. at Southlawn Park, 4125 Jefferson Ave. SE. For more information about city activities, meetings, and events, visit www.wyomingmi.gov.

On the move: Wyoming City Council heads to Lamar Park for its regular Monday night meeting

Wyoming City Council will have its Monday meeting at Lamar Park.

By Joanne Bailey-Boorsma

joanne@wktv.org

 

The Wyoming City Council is taking its meeting on the road, heading to Lamar Park this Monday.

 

“This is the first time we’ve taken our council meetings on the road and we’re excited to provide an opportunity for residents to meet their council members in their own neighborhoods, while taking part in the local government process by attending one of the our council meetings,” said Assistant City Manager Megan Sall.

 

Mayor Jack Poll, Mayor Pro Ten Sam Bolt, and Council Members William VerHulst, Marissa Postler, Robert Postema, Dan Burrill, and Kent Vanderwood and city officials are scheduled to be at the park around 6 p.m. Ice cream also will be served at that time. The meeting will start at 7 p.m. with it being broadcast live on WKTV Channel 26.

 

“Our council members are excited to expand the physical walls of our council chamber to encompass the whole City,” Sall said. “They look forward to meeting residents, visiting different neighborhoods, and hearing about the issues tat affect our community the most.”

 

Lamar Park is located at 2561 Porter St. SW, near the corner of Byron Center Avenue and Porter Street. In the event of inclement weather, the meeting will be at City Hall, located at 1155 28th St. SW.

 

The official agenda for the Monday meeting will be announced here later this week.

After city council, Joanne Voorhees plans to ‘stay involved’

Joanne Voorhees expressed her gratitude to the public for allowing her to serve on the Wyoming City Council for nine years. (WKTV)
Joanne Voorhees expressed her gratitude to the public Monday for allowing her to serve on the Wyoming City Council for nine years. (WKTV)

By K.D. Norris

ken@wktv.org

 

Joanne Voorhees has left the Wyoming City Council, having declined to run again for the 3rd Ward seat after nearly a decade of council service and decades of serving the community her and husband Harold call home. But don’t expect her to spend all her time with her grandkids and great-grand kids.

 

“As the mayor closes every session, he asks the citizens to stay informed and stay involved, so I plan to stay informed and stay involved,” Voorhees said Monday, Nov. 21, as she officially stepped off the council and the city welcomed two new members prior to its regular meeting.

 

“But I also have three children, 19 grandchildren and I have 14 great-grandchildren,” she said. “So I am going to spend time with family, but I will always be available and will do some volunteer work, hopefully, here in the city of Wyoming.”

To see a video, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pnwpzjSYLus

At the Monday meeting, the council recognized Voorhees as well as long-time member Richard Pastoor for their service to the council and the city. The city also swore in returning member-at-larg councilman Dan Burrill, who ran unopposed in the Nov. 8 election for his second four-year term, and new council members Marissa Postler, elected to the city’s 2nd Ward seat, and Robert Postema, elected to the 3rd Ward seat vacated by Voorhees.

 

Wyoming City Manager Curtis Holt had nothing but praise for Joanne Voorhees' service to the city.
Wyoming City Manager Curtis Holt had nothing but praise for Joanne Voorhees’ service to the city.

“Rich and Joanne have been longtime fixtures in our community,” said Wyoming City Manager Curtis Holt. “They are known throughout the community for their good works in the community, whether it is working in the school districts, whether it is working as a state representative.

 

“Rich owned a radio station in our community and has that radio voice we all know. They are people who have dedicated their lives to our community and that dedication followed through to the city council, where they were always very supportive of the city and city projects. They were always dedicated to making our city better.”

 

Voorhees’ service includes much more than just a city council member, however. She previously served in the Michigan House of Representatives and joined the Michigan Republican Party leadership committee in 2011, to name just two high-profile positions.

 

“At one time I served as the chair of the Kent County GOP, before that I served six years as a state legislator, my husband was on there for six years and because of term limits I had the opportunity to run,” she said. “It was a natural fit for me, to not only serve the community as a state representative but then to serve the people here, in the city council room.

 

“The neat part about Harold and I is that he also served as mayor of the City of Wyoming. At that time, I could be called first lady, and I loved that position. … I have had very unique and very blessed opportunities.”

 

As you watched her talk to people before the ceremony Monday, at a reception in her’s and Pastoor’s honor, you could there was a sense of pride from Voorhees for being able to serve the city and the 3rd Ward.

 

“It has been an honor and a privilege to serve (the Wyoming community), it was a golden opportunity for me to be able to serve in this capacity,” she said. “I have thoroughly enjoyed my nine years. We, as a council, have worked together for nine years … We blended. We understood each other. We knew were we were coming from. We did not always agree, but we would disagree very agreeably.

 

“It has been a tremendous experience, I just can’t say enough about what a blessing it is to have served the residents of Wyoming, particularly the 3rd Ward, who I really represent. I have gone door-to-door, so many times. I know many of them personally. I know their feelings. I truly feel like I’ve been able to represent them to the city more than maybe the city to them.”

 

Holt may have summed up the feelings of many attending the ceremony, saying:

 

“The time she has given to our citizens is significant and I am sure at the expense of her own personal priorities in some cases. … You can’t help but admire that dedication and the time she has given to serve the citizens of the City of Wyoming.”

 

Two new faces on Wyoming City Council after Tuesday vote

Marissa Postler, new 2nd Ward councilor
Marissa Postler, new 2nd Ward councilor

By K.D. Norris

ken@wktv.org

 

The City of Wyoming will return one familiar face to the City Council after Tuesday’s election but there will be two newcomers, including Marissa Postler, who is just 23 years old and will be a student at Grand Valley State University while representing in her district on the council.

 

Councilman Dan Burrill, who ran unopposed and was re-elected for his second four-year term as council member-at-large, gained a final unofficial total of 18,474 votes.

 

New to the council will be Robert D. Postema, who defeated Rusty Richter for the 3rd Ward seat vacated by Joanne Vorhees, 5,168 votes to 3,683 votes; and Postler, who defeated incumbent Richard K. Pastoor for the 2nd Ward seat, 3,479 to 2,873.

 

The new council members will be sworn in at the Nov. 21 meeting.

 

Youth was served; will serve

 

Maybe the most startling result was the 2nd Ward win by Postler, who not only unseated a 15-year veteran of the council but also expects her youth to be an asset to the council and the city as much as it was an asset to her campaign.

 

“I definitely think my youth and energy played a part” in the win, Postler said Wednesday. “This election season, we’ve seen a lot of support from both Democrats and Republicans for the idea of an outsider candidate. Bernie Sanders really excited young liberals and Donald Trump, of course, found a lot of support among more conservative voters. While these two men (and myself) have very little in common, there is definitely that common thread of people wanting something different from what they’ve had forever.

 

“In the case of our (2nd Ward) residents, I think I’m probably the first 23-year-old girl who has ever knocked on their door trying to talk about politics and city issues. I had a lot of older folks tell me how glad they were to see someone from the younger generation ready to step up and take the torch.”

 

Postler works at Costco in addition to being a college student seeking a music education degree leading to a teaching position.

 

The 2nd Ward area covers the northern portion of the City of Wyoming from Chicago Drive in the north to Prairie Parkway down Burlingame Avenue over 36th Street and up along 32nd Street on the south. The ward’s western border is Wentworth and the eastern border is the city limits.

 

Part of Postler’s campaign had her advocating for more local engagement and local opportunities for Millennials.

 

“Considering we’re the second largest city in the metro Grand Rapids area, I definitely don’t think it’s crazy for us to try attracting young professionals, Postler said. “The thing is, though, we don’t have a ton of jobs they want right here in Wyoming. On the upside, we do have affordable homes and a 10-minute drive downtown. I think especially if this 28 West project works out, we could definitely become a more attractive area for people who want that city proximity but at a more affordable cost.

 

“One thing we need to continue being careful about is making sure the businesses who fill our many empty spaces are going to add value to the community and make us appealing. No more dollar stores, check cashing places, or vape shops, please! That is a sentiment that I’ve heard from several residents and wholeheartedly agree with myself.”

 

Not only is Postler not your usual city council candidate, she found out about the win in a most unusual way.

 

To be honest I was half asleep when I found out, so it took a moment to sink in,” she said. “I gave up and went to bed around 12:30 (in the morning … with no results yet, and somehow managed to fall asleep despite the excitement and nervousness. Then my boyfriend woke me up at 4 a.m. with the news as he was leaving for work and I saw I had 20 notifications on my phone! … I just want to thank the voters so much for their support and invite them to reach out to me with any ideas or concerns.”

(Postler’s email address is marissapostler@gmail.com.)

 

Back to work; working at large

 

Burrill, who was reelected for a second 4-year term as council member-at-large, ran unopposed and still gained nearly 18,500 votes — as well as a few ribbings — from constituents.

 

Joking aside, he says he is grateful not only for reelection but for the confidence in this work and work ethic shown by city voters.

 

“I do hope (the high number of votes he gained) says that folks recognized that I do a nice job for the city,” Burrill said. “I put the community’s best interest at heart. I put a lot of time and effort in that position, so I hope it says, ‘This guy is doing a pretty good job.’ Some of these (public service) positions can be pretty thankless sometimes, and I think that people are thankful that someone is doing it and putting forth effort on it.”

 

Burrill also said he takes pride representing the entire city as member-at-large, but he stressed that all the council members really represent the entire city.

 

“We have such a diverse community, and I think that is totally awesome,” he said. “When I think about our community, I see it from so many directions. It is such a great place to live. I do think I look at it as that I do not represent just one area, one ward, you do feel a sense of duty to the entire community.

 

“Of course, I know the ward commissioners do the same. Sure they represent their ward, but they also are looking for what is best for the people throughout the community. I know in those wards, they all of have a good sense of community for the entire community. Not just their area. You have to look at Wyoming as a whole. The decisions you make on the north end can affect the south end, so you have to look at the community as a whole.”

 

Of course, Burrill said, being well-known and accessible to the voters can have it’s, ah, moments.

 

“This past election, I had more people text me and say ‘Dan, I voted for you.’ Of course, some of them joke around: people that know me said ‘Hey, we had a tough choice but we voted for you anyway.’ When you get those text messages, those calls, from people it makes you feel really good. More than anything, this election made me feel really good; it gave me a lot of confidence in what I am doing.”

 

Postmen has ties to local community and local business

 

Postema — please call him “Rob,” he says, to avoid any confusion with his father and brother,  both Richard — has a long history in Wyoming and, while he sees the many strengths of the city, he sees things he wants to make better.

 

“Wyoming has a lot going for it,” he said this week. “Good infrastructure, strong neighborhoods and great citizens. City services have generally remained stable and the city is good financial shape despite some difficult economic times. But there are opportunities for improvement in many areas.

 

“I’d like to see both public safety departments strengthened,” he said. “The DDA area (28th Street area) is an area we should continue to  look for improvement. The DDA appears to be a great tool to compound investment in the area without any added tax burden. Wyoming’s DDA suffers a bit from unlucky timing with the economic downturn and several large business closures that have left it struggling for funding.  The 28 West project, hopefully, will spur some positive momentum and as that momentum builds I think we could see some real positive change in this area of the city.  I think there is opportunity along the Division corridor for positive change as well.”

 

Postema said his initial focus, however, will be in not only representing his ward but in “gaining a greater understanding” of the city and the working of the City Council.

 

“My exposure to city government from my work on the Planning Commission and BZA is an asset, as is my experience running a business,” he said. “But I recognize there will be some issues I do not yet fully understand and need to learn.”

 

Postema works for Richard Postema Associates PC, an architectural and engineering firm which moved to the city in 1981. It is a family business, named after his father, but both his father and his brother are “Richard” and his brother — who goes by “Rick” — is also part owner. “It can be confusing,” Postmen said.

 

Postema, 49, grew up in Wyoming, attended South Christian High School, graduated from Calvin College with an engineering degree. He is married, to Shelley, with two daughters, one a graduate from Hope College and in the nursing field, and the other just starting study at Calvin.

 

His becoming a city council member is just starting to sink in, however.

 

“Running for election is a humbling event,” he said. “It seems cliché to say so, but it really is an honor to have people place their faith in you to represent them in such an important role.  I am so very thankful to everyone who placed their faith in me. I will do my best to honor that faith and follow the commitments I made to everyone when running for office.”

 

We the People: Wyoming City Council Candidates

We The People 2016WKTV takes seriously its role as a communications provider. We want our community to be well-informed and more involved in local matters. Note: Wyoming City Council seats are nonpartisan.

 

2nd Ward

 

The City of Wyoming’s 2nd Ward Council area covers the northern portion of the City of Wyoming from Chicago Drive in the north to Prairie Parkway down Burlingame Avenue over 36th Street and up along 32nd Street on the south. The 2nd Ward western border is Wentworth and the eastern border is the city limits.

 

Richard Kent Pastoor – Incumbent

Occupation: Worked in sales and broadcasting. Has been on the Wyoming City Council since 2001

Residence: Wyoming

 

Why did you decide to run for the City of Wyoming 2nd Ward?

“Well, I was appointed to the 2nd Ward back in March of 2001 and liked it, so I decided to run again in 2003. It’s the most rewarding job I’ve ever had and I’ve met some great people. I try to serve the people and I love being able to help them.”

 

With the announcement that the 28 West project is moving forward, how do you feel it will impact the City of Wyoming?
“Most of that area is in my ward and the people over there have always felt slighted and cheated that the City ignored them. That the business ventures stopped at Burlingame. I hope it’s something that takes off and benefits the businesses in the area. I would like to see all of 28th Street re-birthed.”

 

Marissa K. Postler

 

Occupation: Works at Costco Warehouse

Residence: Wyoming

 

Why did you decide to run for the City of Wyoming 2nd Ward?
“I was frustrated with Millennials engagement into politics. I want to bring more people into politics in order to give a more accurate representation of the community. With a median age of just over 30, the City Council needs more diversity to properly represent the City of Wyoming.”

 

With the announcement that the 28 West project is moving forward, how do you feel it will impact the City of Wyoming?

“I’d love it as long as we get the right types of businesses in. With young people taking advantage of the low housing market in Wyoming, we need to keep them here. A new 28 West has the potential to increase Wyoming’s appeal.”

 

3rd Ward

 

The City of Wyoming’s 3rd Ward Council area encompasses the city’s panhandle area that includes most of the western area of the city from Prairie Parkway on the north to 60th Street in the south. The 3rd Ward eastern border wraps around the city limits to Kenowa Avenue and its western border is Burlingame Avenue.

 

Rusty Richter

Occupation: Twenty-seven years as a commercial real estate broker and property manager
Residence: Wyoming

 

Why did you decide to run for the City of Wyoming 3rd Ward?

“I’ve lived in Wyoming my whole life and so have my parents and their parents. In order to keep the solid foundation the city is built on, you have to be involved to make sure it remains sound and sensible. I’m looking to dew attention to the issues in the 3rd Ward as some people in the 3rd Ward feel left out and not a part of Wyoming.”

 

With the announcement that the 28 West project is moving forward, how do you feel it will impact the City of Wyoming?


“I think it’s an important project for Wyoming and will help Wyoming develop a downtown feel. It has to be competitive in growing business development and the project will help with that. It’s important to use the private sector to fill 28th Street.

 

Robert D. Postema

 

Occupation: Engineer / Part Owner of Richard Postema Associates PC, Architects & Engineers
Residence: 36 years in Wyoming

 

Why did you decide to run for the City of Wyoming 3rd Ward?

“I am running for election because I believe I have the experience and critical thinking necessary to properly guide the decisions made by the City Council. I have consistently shown in my work the desire to fully understand an issue and make a thoughtful, common-sense decision on how to proceed. I grew up in Wyoming, raised my own family here and own a business in Wyoming. I want Wyoming to continue to be a great place to live, raise a family, and run a business. I am committed to limited government, being accessible and accountable, fiscal responsibility, strong public safety, and smart growth.”

 

With the announcement that the 28 West project is moving forward, how do you feel it will impact the City of Wyoming?
“The 28 West project is the catalyst that should help drive new development in Wyoming’s DDA. Redevelopment often is about momentum with new development driving more new development. The city needs to work promote the area and also needs to remain flexible enough to work with developers on concepts that may not have been envisioned in the 28 West plan but hold true to the plan’s ultimate goals.”

 

All candidates were contacted and invited to participate in sharing their message to the voters.

We the People: Candidate Forums

We The People 2016WKTV takes seriously its role as a communications provider. We want our community to be well-informed and more involved in local matters.

 

City of Wyoming – 2nd Ward

 

The City of Wyoming’s 2nd Ward Council area covers the northern portion of the City of Wyoming from Chicago Drive in the north to Prairie Parkway down Burlingame Avenue over 36th Street and up along 32nd Street on the south. The 2nd Ward western border is Wentworth and the eastern border is the city limits.

 

 

City of Wyoming – 3rd Ward

 

The City of Wyoming’s 3rd Ward Council area encompasses the city’s panhandle area that includes most of the western area of the city from Prairie Parkway on the north to 60th Street in the south. The 3rd Ward eastern border wraps around the city limits to Kenowa Avenue and its western border is Burlingame Avenue.

 

Kent County Commissioner – 8th District

 

Kent County Commissioner District 8 covers the eastern portion of the City of Wyoming, including the pan handle. For specific boarders, visit accesskent.com.

 

Kent County Commissioner – 12th District

 

Kent County Commissioner District 12 covers the western portion of the City of Kentwood and the eastern portion of the City of Wyoming. For specific boarders, visit accesskent.com.

 

Kent County Commissioner – 13th District

 

Kent County Commissioner District 13 covers the eastern portion of the City of Kentwood. For specific boarders, visit accesskent.com.

 

State House of Representatives – 77th District

 

The 77th District includes Byron Township and the City of Wyoming. The seat is currently held by Thomas Hooker of Byron Township, who is vacating due to term limits.

 

Wyoming approves agreement with Loeks for 28 West Place project

Take one last good look at 28 Street and Michael Avenue because it could change in a matter of weeks.

 

Last night, the Wyoming City Council approved the last piece in the 28 West Place project as it accepted a purchase agreement with Loeks Theatres for around $278,000. The agreement was the final piece for the city to construct a new road from the current Wyoming Mall entrance off Michael Avenue to 28th Street across from Hook Avenue where Applebee’s is located.

 

Adopted in 2013, the 28 West Place is a reimagining of the south side of 28th Street between Clyde Park and Burlingame avenues into a mixed-use town center utilizing form-based code. A form-based code provides for flexibility to developers, according to Wyoming Deputy City Manager Heidi Isakson who has been working on the 28 West Place project.

 

The 28 West sign located in front of the former Studio 28 property. Construction for the 28 West project will actually start just east on the Wyoming Mall property.
The 28 West sign located in front of the former Studio 28 property. Construction for the 28 West project will actually start just east on the Wyoming Mall property.

A key element to the 28 West concept is the construction of a curving slip street which would become the center’s new “main street.” The street is proposed to run from the south side of 28th Street across from Hook Avenue to Jenkins Avenue, which runs next to the former Klingman/Rogers Department Store building. Before the city could move forward, it had to have the property owners on board with the project. Earlier this year, owners of the Wyoming Mall approached the city with some redesign plans for its facility and city officials knew now was the time to move forward with the west portion of the street.

 

“It has been a nail biter,” Isakson said as city staff pulled together the several elements that needed to be coordinated for the project. This included working with Wyoming Mall officials and Loek Theatre representatives to acquire the necessary right-of-ways.

 

“We believe that the city investment of public utilities and improving public access combined with the private investment will yield greater results,” said City of Wyoming Assistant City Manager Heidi Isakson.

 

In June, the Wyoming City Council accepted a $1.6 million agreement with Wyoming Mall, LLC. Total cost to the city will be about $1.2 million for the relocation of city services and construction of the road. At its Aug. 1 meeting, the council awarded the construction of 28 West Place street and utility improvements to Kentwood Excavating which had the lowest bid of $1.74 million. The bid, which was one of five, came in about 11.34 percent below the engineer’s estimate. The total cost for the project, which includes right-of-way acquisition, is estimated at $2.8 million.

 

Isakson said Loeks Theater officials plan to have the agreement signed by Wednesday with plans for construction starting soon. Wyoming Mall officials already have begun demolition work and are waiting for the city to being moving utilities, she said.

 

Isakson said she has been in touch with the owners of Rogers Plaza about the project but at this time there are no plans to move forward with the west portion of the new street.

Postler and Postema win 2nd and 3rd Ward in Primary Election

WKTV takes seriously its role as a communications provider. We want our community to be well informed and more involved in local matters.

 

The City Council election is non-partisan. The top two will advance to the general election in November with the winner earning a seat on the Wyoming City Council.

 

Wyoming 2nd Ward

 

Wyoming2Ward

 

Wyoming 3rd Ward

Wyoming3rdWard

Wyoming gives tentative approval to first plat in a couple of years

The above image shows the location of the Greens of Wyoming plat.
The above image shows the location of the Greens of Wyoming plat.

By Joanne Bailey-Boorsma
joanne@wktv.org

 

After determining a developer had followed all the proper procedures required, the Wyoming City Council gave tentative approval to its first plat proposal in more than two years.

 

At its July 5 meeting, the Wyoming City Council followed the lead of the city’s Planning Commission and approved a tentative preliminary plat proposal, called The Greens of Wyoming, for a 13.15-arce parcel located off 56th Street not far from Gezon Parkway. Developer of the site is Sniper One LLC.

 

The tentative proposal calls for 39 lots to be built on the property with a straight road running about the full length of the site with a cul-de-sac at the end. The development is designed to connect with the Palmer Park subdivision to the east of it with Mulligan Drive being extended. Mulligan Drive is designated by the city to eventually link all the subdivisions over to Burlingame Avenue.

 

Many of the residents in the Palmer Park subdivision attended the meeting in opposition of the project citing a number of concerns including that the full engineering on the plan was not included and existing drainage problems that could increase if the plat is put in.

 

“I really don’t see how we can deny this project,” said City Councilmember Dan Burrill, who sits on the Planning Commission as the council’s representative. Burrill pointed out that the plat meets all the requirements set forth by the city including fitting the zoning for that area which is R-1 Residential.

 

City Manager Curtis Holt said it has been some time since the city council has had to review a plat. In fact, the last plat project brought to the city was the Rivertown Valley III located just south of 56th Street on Nile Drive. That plat’s final approval was in 2014.

 

A portion of the tentative preliminary site plan for the Greens of Wyoming.
A portion of the tentative preliminary site plan for the Greens of Wyoming.

For the City of Wyoming, the platting of property is a three-step process. The first step is the tentative preliminary plat which authorizes the basic lot sizes and orientation and street layout. The second step is the preliminary plat approval which will include the engineering detail for the construction of the plat. The last step is the final plat approval.

 

City Planner Tim Cochran said the city has a number of similar blocks of land like The Greens of Wyoming that could be developed especially now that the housing market seems to have stabilized. In fact, just west of The Greens of Wyoming property is another undeveloped parcel of land.

 

Residents especially were concerned about the overall layout of the plat and drainage issues. Because of the narrowness of the property, staff said there is not much more the developer could do as far as layout. The property does meet zoning with its 10,000-square-foot lots, which residents noted does not fit in with the current lot sizes of the existing properties.

 

As for drainage issues, Wyoming Department of Public Works Director Bill Dooley said after the June Planning Commission meeting, his staff investigated if it had received any complaints and did not find any on record. Mayor Jack Poll said staff will get back with residents on the drainage concerns.

 

Dooley said it’s good when residents do voice their concerns as it makes city staff and officials aware of what has been happening in a specific area and to make sure those concerns are addressed.

 

The developer can now move forward to get engineering and other requirements for the preliminary plat approval. This includes having the plan reviewed by the Kent County Drain Commissioner’s office.

We the People: Wyoming City Council Candidates – 2016 Primary

We The People 2016

WKTV takes seriously its role as a communications provider. We want our community to be well-informed and more involved in local matters. Note: Wyoming City Council seats are nonpartisan and decided at the Aug. 2 primary.

 

2nd Ward

The City of Wyoming’s 2nd Ward Council area covers the northern portion of the City of Wyoming from Chicago Drive in the north to Prairie Parkway down Burlingame Avenue over 36th Street and up along 32nd Street on the south. The 2nd Ward western border is Wentworth and the eastern border is the city limits.

 

Richard Kent Pastoor – Incumbent

Occupation: Worked in sales and broadcasting. Has been on the Wyoming City Council since 2001

Residence: Wyoming

 

Why did you decide to run for the City of Wyoming 2nd Ward?

“Well, I was appointed to the 2nd Ward back in March of 2001 and liked it, so I decided to run again in 2003. It’s the most rewarding job I’ve ever had and I’ve met some great people. I try to serve the people and I love being able to help them.”

 

With the announcement that the 28 West project is moving forward, how do you feel it will impact the City of Wyoming?
“Most of that area is in my ward and the people over there have always felt slighted and cheated that the City ignored them. That the business ventures stopped at Burlingame. I hope it’s something that takes off and benefits the businesses in the area. I would like to see all of 28th Street re-birthed.”

 

Jeremy Bakken – Candidate

Occupation: Senior Director at Lambert Edwards and Associates

Residence: Wyoming

 

Why did you decide to run for the City of Wyoming 2nd Ward?
“I’ve been involved with the city for years as a member of the Wyoming Community Enrichment program and I have enjoyed my time serving. I joined after wanting to see a fireworks show in Wyoming and we now have one with the WY-FI event. I want to do more and help Wyoming stay great.”

 

With the announcement that the 28 West project is moving forward, how do you feel it will impact the City of Wyoming?
“I’m excited about it. That section has seen a lot of change and it will be great for the area and for the businesses. Visually it will look great and the new design will give people space to walk around.”

 

Marissa K. Postler – Candidate

Occupation: Works at Costco Warehouse

Residence: Wyoming

 

Why did you decide to run for the City of Wyoming 2nd Ward?
“I was frustrated with Millennials engagement into politics. I want to bring more people into politics in order to give a more accurate representation of the community. With a median age of just over 30, the City Council needs more diversity to properly represent the City of Wyoming.”

 

With the announcement that the 28 West project is moving forward, how do you feel it will impact the City of Wyoming?

“I’d love it as long as we get the right types of businesses in. With young people taking advantage of the low housing market in Wyoming, we need to keep them here. A new 28 West has the potential to increase Wyoming’s appeal.”

 

3rd Ward

 

The City of Wyoming’s 3rd Ward Council area encompasses the city’s panhandle area that includes most of the western area of the city from Prairie Parkway on the north to 60th Street in the south. The 3rd Ward eastern border wraps around the city limits to Kenowa Avenue and its’ western border is Burlingame Avenue.

 

Tamara I. Lopez – Candidate

Occupation: Lawyer

Residence: Wyoming

 

Why did you decide to run for the City of Wyoming 3rd Ward?
“As a lifelong resident of Wyoming, I believe it is important to give back to the community that contributed so much to my upbringing. My calling in life as a lawyer is to be an advocate for my clients and I feel representing the 3rd Ward would be natural for me.”

 

With the announcement that the 28 West project is moving forward, how do you feel it will impact the City of Wyoming?
“It will impact the City immensely and will bring back a part of Wyoming that used to be thriving. It will offer a distinct shopping district with stores that serve the local market and meet the demands of the city’s ever changing consumer demographic.”

 

Rusty Richter – Candidate

Occupation: Twenty-seven years as a commercial real estate broker and property manager

Residence: Wyoming

 

Why did you decide to run for the City of Wyoming 3rd Ward?

“I’ve lived in Wyoming my whole life and so have my parents and their parents. In order to keep the solid foundation the city is built on, you have to be involved to make sure it remains sound and sensible”

 

With the announcement that the 28 West project is moving forward, how do you feel it will impact the City of Wyoming?
“I think it’s an important project for Wyoming. It has to be competitive in growing business development and the project will help with that. It will also help Wyoming develop a downtown feel.”

 

Robert D. Postema

 

Due to a family emergency, Robert was not able to make it in to film a video message to the voters.

 

Occupation: Engineer / Part Owner of Richard Postema Associates PC, Architects & Engineers

Residence: 36 years in Wyoming

 

Why did you decide to run for the City of Wyoming 3rd Ward?

“I am running for election because I believe I have the experience and critical thinking necessary to properly guide the decisions made by the City Council. I have consistently shown in my work the desire to fully understand an issue and make a thoughtful, common-sense decision on how to proceed. I grew up in Wyoming, raised my own family here and own a business in Wyoming. I want Wyoming to continue to be a great place to live, raise a family, and run a business. I am committed to limited government, being accessible and accountable, fiscal responsibility, strong public safety, and smart growth. ”

 

With the announcement that the 28 West project is moving forward, how do you feel it will impact the City of Wyoming?

“The 28 West project is the catalyst that should help drive new development in Wyoming’s DDA. Redevelopment often is about momentum with new development driving more new development. The city needs to work promote the area and also needs to remain flexible enough to work with developers on concepts that may not have been envisioned in the 28 West plan but hold true to the plan’s ultimate goals.”

 

All candidates were contacted and invited to participate in sharing their message to the voters. Only contested races where the field would be narrowed or decided at the primary on August 2 were included.

The Tree Amigos and a quest for a healthier Wyoming

Trees
Trees are not only beautiful, but they add many other benefits to a community

By: Mike DeWitt

 

What started as a routine tree removal ended up igniting an inner-passion in Wyoming resident, and former city commissioner, Greg Bryan.

 

“If the city was smart, they would’ve replaced my tree and this group never would’ve been created,” exclaimed Greg with a tinge of humor in his voice before getting serious once again. “When the city came in and chopped down my trees, I said to myself, ’this has to stop!’ So, I called [city council member] Kent Vanderwood and told him we have to do something.”

Oriole Park

 

That ‘something’ has morphed itself into a group called the ‘Tree Amigos,’ a Wyoming, Michigan citizens committee supporting a vibrant tree canopy. The group started as a Neighborhood Watch campaign to raise awareness of the Gypsy moth blight in the Oriole Park neighborhood.

 

Now the group has a new focus: to establish a new commission centered on planting trees in the City of Wyoming. Ultimately, the goal is to have Wyoming become the 120th city in Michigan, and part of 3,400 communities nationwide, to become a part of Tree City USA. In order to achieve status as a member of Tree City USA, a community must meet four core standards of sound forestry management: maintaining a tree board or department, having a community tree ordinance, spending at least $2 per capita on urban forestry, and celebrating Arbor Day.

Wyoming's former tree planting program
Wyoming’s former tree planting program

 

A tree planting program is nothing new for Wyoming. In fact, a program existed back in the 70’s to plant and install trees under contract by the township. However, the program ran out of money due to budget cuts and the city hasn’t planted trees since.

 

“There’s so much beauty and serenity in trees and the wildlife that comes with them. There are also huge health benefits as well,” explained Tree Amigos member Stelle Slootmaker on her decision to help lead the group.

 

Those benefits? Well, trees are extraordinarily energy-efficient. Amazingly, 100 trees remove 26 tons of CO2 and 300 pounds of pollutants from the air. They provide the net cooling effect of 1,000 air conditioners! The same number of trees can also intercept more than 200,000 gallons of rainwater each year, reducing the need for storm water controls, and providing cleaner water.

 

On top of reducing costs for the city over time, trees can also add market value to residential real estate. One large tree can add 10 percent.

 

While trees are helpful from a numbers perspective, they also benefit in ways that are more difficult to measure. Trees build strong ties to neighborhoods and communities. They help promote better psychological well-being and make people happier. More trees are linked to faster hospital recoveries, increased employee productivity, less crime, and reduction in stress and anxiety.

 

According to one survey, having on average 10 more trees in a city block improved how someone rated their health by a level comparable to an increase in annual personal income of $10,000, moving to a neighborhood with a $10,000 median income, or being seven years younger.

 

With all the benefits of trees, it seems like a no-brainer for the city to implement a tree planting plan. However, whenever there’s work to be done, there needs to be someone willing to take up the new workload. It’s always easier said than done.

 

That’s where the Tree Amigos come in. The group has already put in the time and effort to research the steps to make Wyoming a part of Tree City USA. They have also taken the time to present the idea of forming a new commission to the City Council. Most importantly, the Tree Amigos aren’t simply dropping the workload for someone else to pick up. They’re looking to be on the front line as volunteers wherever this effort takes them.

Stelle Slootmaker and Bill Brown addressing the Wyoming City Council
Stelle Slootmaker and Bill Brown addressing the Wyoming City Council

 

“It’s important to Greg. He represents a neighborhood that needs help with trees,” said Wyoming City Council Member Kent Vanderwood. “It’s the right response for us to get behind as a city. Whatever I can do to help, I’m going to do.”

 

Two members of the Tree Amigos, Stelle and Arborist Bill Brown, gave a formal presentation at the City Council meeting on February 8. They are meeting with the Council again this Wednesday, February 24, to talk about the next step.

 

Bill is hoping everyone is on the same page going forward, “I grew up in Wyoming. This is what I do everyday. I understand the importance of trees. It’s something Wyoming needs now.”

Pinery Park Little League on the Right Track

PineryParkBy: Mike DeWitt

Following weeks of speculation about whether the Pinery Park Little League (PPLL) would exist after 60 years of operation, the PPLL and the City of Wyoming agreed on a new contract to keep the league in charge of youth baseball.

Pinery Park Little League was in jeopardy of losing its contract with the City of Wyoming and Pinery Park due to a lack of transparent bookkeeping and the loss of nonprofit 501(c)(3) status.

The League made tremendous progress ironing out those issues over the past two weeks.

“I guess it took some major deadlines in order to have this contract happen,” exclaimed Mayor Jack Poll at the October 5 City Council Meeting. “I think it’s a good agreement. It protects both the park and those involved with the PPLL.”

There is new leadership within the League as almost an entirely new board was voted in during the elections on September 30. Mayor Poll was in attendance and cast his vote for the League leaders.

It is clear the new board wants the new contract and agreement to work. The members are shouldering a large responsibility to meet the requirements of the contract. The new board will have to prepare and show financial statements to the fiduciary handling the league’s financials. The PPLL board will meet on a regular, scheduled basis to stay on top of happenings throughout the league.

One of the main hiccups was the loss of 501(c)(3) status for the League back in 2011. The IRS has received and is reviewing the PPLL’s application to reinstate that status. The League must now wait 60-120 days for an answer from the IRS.

“The Pinery Park Little League knows how to run a league, they’ve been doing it a long time,” said Mayor Poll.

Now the league, the City, the parents, and the players can focus on the most important aspect… PLAY BALL!

Time is Running Out on Pinery Park Little League

By: Mike DeWitt

It’s every little leaguer’s dream, that perfect game-ending situation that runs through a ballplayer’s mind: At the bottom of the ninth inning with two outs, the bases are loaded with your team down a score. Three balls and two strikes, a full count and it’s do or die.

There’s nowhere to hide. It’s just you at the plate. A chance to be the hero.

For Pinery Park Little League (PPLL), the game is winding down and it’s time for the league to step up to the plate so that its contract with the City of Wyoming and Pinery Park isn’t terminated.

After 60 years of organizing youth baseball here in Wyoming, the PPLL is in jeopardy of losing its home.

PineryParkThe problems started back in 2011 when the PPLL lost its 501(c)(3) nonprofit status with the IRS due to a lack of transparent bookkeeping and financial information. Since the loss of 501(c)(3) status, the City of Wyoming has asked the PPLL to take the necessary steps to get the nonprofit title back with the IRS.

Four years later that still has not been accomplished. That’s just the tip of the iceberg for an organization that has proven to be run very inefficiently.

Electrical and maintenance bills haven’t been paid on time. Board meeting dates are flimsy with sometimes only a couple of days’ notice before a meeting. Board election positions are posted with the minimal amount of notice (two weeks) mandated by the league’s bylaws. Umpires are paid in cash out of the concession stand register with no paper trail to follow. And the League has been unable to present their financials at the request of the Wyoming City Council.

“This league is extremely, extremely unorganized,” exclaimed Mayor Jack Poll in a heat of passion and disappointment at the City Council Meeting on September 14. “And, if they can’t have the leadership to run this league on our fields with the requirements that we have, then it’s time to change direction.”

The Wyoming City Council had a very long discussion about what to do with the PPLL and whether or not the contract should be terminated. By the end of the meeting, they decided on a few next steps:

  • The PPLL must turn over all financials, bank statements and loose pieces of paper
  • The PPLL lawyer and the City lawyer will draw up a new contract that has some teeth
  • The new contract will designate the Community Resource Alliance as the fiduciary for the finances of the PPLL
  • The PPLL will form a separate committee to field complaints from league participants

The new contract must be submitted by September 30 so that it can be placed on the October 5 meeting’s agenda. If no agreement is reached, the contract will be terminated on October 5, and the Parks and Rec Department will charter youth baseball.