NEW BUFFALO — At a special July 26 New Buffalo City Council meeting, council members voted 5-0 to approve two items: The city’s sale of vacant land for the Jameson Street Purchase Agreement; and a resolution to support the Michigan Department of Transportation “TAP” Grant Application for the Marquette Greenway Trail.

The land sale for a total of $90,000 to David Bennett Construction, involving Keller Williams Realty as the selling agent, stipulates that if the buyer does not have a foundation laid, or if the foundation is done and the project is not completed within 18 months total and signed off by the city’s Building Department, “the city can purchase the lots back,” Mayor Lou O’Donnell IV noted during the meeting.

“There are two lots and two deeds, so I just split the price in half at $45,000 per lot,” O’Donnell added. “The city installed sidewalks already around the block there.”

Each lot will have an upscale home built upon it. The contract says that the closing date will be Aug. 15 and that the buyer is to submit $5,000 cash as earnest money.

In the other matter, according to the text of Resolution 19.29, a portion of the Marquette Greenway Trail will be “located in [the] County Road right-of-way along Grand Beach Road” and in the “MDOT Road right-of-way along U.S. 12 and City of New Buffalo Road right-of-way.”

According to a Berrien County spokesperson who addressed the council, this resolution is just preparatory paperwork for the time being.

She went to explain to Council member Mark Robertson that the city’s “road right of way” goes along Buffalo Street where pieces of existing sidewalk would be improved, and then to Willard Street, where existing sidewalks would also be improved. Furthermore, sidewalks would be added along Mechanic Street and onward to Smith Street.  

The Berrien County Road Department has submitted a Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) Transportation Alternative Program (TAP) grant application for the trail, which “will ultimately be a non-motorized facility that will connect New Buffalo to Chicago and is a project in (the) City’s 5-year approved parks and recreation plan,” the resolution also states.

The Berrien County Road Department has agreed to be the ACT 51 agency for the project from the Indiana-Michigan state line to the city trailhead at Mechanic and Smith streets. Furthermore, the city and New Buffalo Township have submitted Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) grant applications.

“The estimated project budget is $2,638,530 with the TAP grant request at $1,590,530 and a match of $1,048,000 that’s expected to be provided by the city, the township, the Pokagon Fund, the Berrien Community Foundation, MDNR, and Friends of Harbor Country Trails,” the resolution also notes.

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