Parks Duo

New faces in Bridgman (from left) Sara Ball, assistant director of parks and recreation, and Milo Root, director of parks and recreation. - photo by Janet Hayes

BRIDGMAN — New faces and new ordinances were among the topics discussed during the Bridgman City Council meeting on Aug. 19.

The council and public were introduced to the two new parks and recreation department employees who will fill the positions approved during the previous council meeting. Milo Root is the new director of parks and recreation and Sara Ball is the new assistant director of parks and recreation.

Root is a graduate of Eastern Michigan University’s Honors College with a degree in sports management and minor in marketing and economics. Since graduation he has worked for Canton Leisure Services, National Flag Football and the parks and recreation department for the City of Portland, Mich. 

Ball holds a degree in recreation management from Western Michigan University where she worked as a special events manager in the Student Recreation Center. She also has experience as a seasonal worker for the City of New Buffalo parks and recreation and most recently as park manager for Kalamazoo County Government.

The agenda called for the first reading of new ordinances but only one made the cut. The first ordinance to regulate charitable solicitations in the roadway will be reintroduced at a future meeting in order to accommodate the many changes suggested during council discussion.

The suggested revisions include clarifying which intersection at which charitable solicitations will be allowed. Police Chief Daniel Unruh recommended only the four-way stop at the intersection Lake and Church streets. There also was discussion about limiting solicitors to 16-years and older with adult supervision and requiring signed parental waivers for minors.

“We are looking out for the health of the community, not just protecting our liability,” said Council Member Stacy Stine. City Attorney Sara Senica agreed, adding that the new law was not trying to make the situation more difficult but stressed the need to protect city in the increasingly litigious society.

The proposed law also will provide minimum requirements including certain safety clothing, proof of insurance and a limitation on the types of organizations considered to be charities eligible to solicit donations.

The council did complete the first reading of the ordinance to regulate the use of fireworks within city limits. Mirroring the state law, fireworks will only be permitted during certain hours and days surrounding New Year’s, Memorial Day, Fourth of July and Labor Day.

At the suggestion of audience member Eugene Herrman, the proposed ordinance will include stipulations regarding liability for property damage and height restrictions.

During council comments at the end of the meeting, Mayor Vince Rose apologized for any confusion at the last meeting when he brought up the discussion about the need for a city policy on marijuana. He said he expected the topic would be on the agenda and had invited speakers on the subject to the meeting. Rose clarified that he did not expect a vote to be taken at that meeting but said he thinks the city needs to act quickly on the issue.

The mayor asked that everyone do their homework, become educated on the subject and be open-minded. He noted that the city needs to look for ways to bring in new revenue and compared the potential benefits of marijuana sales in the city to the benefits lost when the city chose not to welcome the casino proposed by the Pokagon Tribe.

During public comment, Lt. Dave Cramton of the Bridgman Fire Department thanked the city for its support for the 2019 Fireman’s Street Dance, which had an attendance of 1,300. He said the group is considering adding additional family-oriented activities for next year’s event.

Also, a representative from the Weko Beach Estates Condominiums thanked City Manager Juan Ganum and the city for helping the association gain the economies of scale by getting a private maintenance contract on a lift station from the Galien River Sanitary District.

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