2010-01-07 / Front Page

City Will Take Over Steps, but Rejects Property Swap

Mackinac Island
By Karen Gould

Saving a 70-year-old stairway topped a short list of city issues addressed during the last council meeting of the year on Mackinac Island Wednesday, December 30. Council members unanimously voted to obtain an easement for the steps from Rowe Terrace Condominium Association. The city easement was sought by the association and will place the stairway and its liability under city control.

The concrete steps anchor a public wood stairway from Church Street to the East Bluff. The wood portion is owned and maintained by the Mackinac Island State Park Commission, but the concrete portion is on association property, outside the park boundary.

One of the six condominiums is owned by the city, which has been trying to sell it.

The association told the city in October it does not want the liability of owning the concrete steps, but offered an easement for them to the city so the public could continue to use them.

"I don't think any of us here on this council want to see the stairs removed," said Mayor Margaret Doud, who called for the motion to keep the stairs in place and to move forward with getting an easement.

The document, to be drawn up by city attorney Tom Evashevski and an association attorney will require city council approval.

In another matter concerning Rowe Terrace, the council rejected a proposal to trade its Rowe Terrace Condominium for a home in Harrisonville on the corner of Fifth Street and Cadotte Avenue. The issue was tabled from the council's December 9 meeting.

The exchange was offered by Margaret McIntire, who owns the house and three of the Rowe condominium units.

Alderman Jason St. Onge previously expressed his opposition to the trade, as the Harrisonville home is less marketable and needs some repair work, and reiterated his position December 30.

"I don't think it is a good deal for the city," he said, although he noted that the city could be interested in similar offers.

The city unit had been used for summer police housing, but those officers will be moved to the former medical center building on Market Street, now called St. Martin's.

Council directed Mayor Doud to work with Mackinac Island Realty to establish a selling price and list the condominium for sale.

The city has been trying to selfsell the unit for $298,900. It has been valued by the city assessor for $245,000.

In other business, Patrick Sinclair's Irish Pub received approval to have a temporary liquor license for three outdoor parties that include closing the sidewalk and one lane of Main Street during the events. The business is planning a winter beach party January 16, a Super Bowl party February 7, and a St. Patrick's Day party March 20. The area will be enclosed with a temporary snow fence.

Council approved a request from resident Richard Bolander to offer a Dartball League in Community Hall Sunday afternoons during the winter.

The city waived the temporary motor vehicle permit fee to Delta Medical Systems for delivery of a new X-ray machine to the medical center.

Council holds meetings every other Wednesday at 5 p.m. on the second floor of Community Hall. The next meeting is January 13.

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