The Scottville Report: Many positive changes happening

February 20, 2023

The Scottville Report: Many positive changes happening

Editor’s Note: MCP recently reached out to local governmental leaders and has asked for regular reports about what’s going on in their communities. It’s always our goal to reach all parts of Mason County and are offering this to every township, village and city in the county. Scottville City Manager Jimmy Newkirk was the first to respond with a report. Township supervisors, village presidents, city managers and mayors, you may contact us at editor@mediagropu31.com to have your community represented. 

By Jimmy Newkirk, Scottville City Manager

There has been a lot of positive movement happening in Scottville over the past year. This isn’t always reported as controversy always seems to attract more attention. Regardless, our City is seeing some great things happening. 

Nearly 100 residential lots/parcels have sold within the city limits since January 2021. Many are not listed or are not being sold without assistance of realtors. City Hall continues to receive no less than 10 calls/emails a week with questions regarding properties that are available or people interested in coming to Scottville. What this means is that many properties that have had property tax caps for decades have now come uncapped, meaning more tax revenue for the city.

Jimmy Newkirk, Scottville City Manager

There has been a major shift in ownership or occupation of several commercial buildings. To name few here are some buildings that have recently been sold: 101 N. Main St. (The McMaster building), 209 S. Main St. (former Healy Chrysler building/Holden’s Home Emporium). Additionally Plant Paradise has moved to a new, larger location in downtown, a pet groomer has opened on the southeast corner of State Street and Reinberg Avenue, two cannabis shops are working on developing properties in downtown, and an apartment house near downtown by West Shore Bank has recently sold. The city recently sold an unused lot to the owners of Stallion Mill, which will be used to develop that business. There is word that the old schoolhouse property has a pending sale and the Sweetwater subdivision has been sold with plans to develop more houses there. The City also has been exploring selling some of its properties, particularly the five acres that includes the Department of Public Works building on First Street for possible development. 

The opportunities that are present in Scottville right now haven’t been seen in quite a long time.

A major improvement that will be seen downtown is the replacement of a water main that runs in the alley on the east side of the 100 block of South Main Street. Contracts are signed for that project and it will begin pending water pipe and contractor availability later this year at the earliest. East parking lots will be scheduled to be resurfaced after alley project is done. All work is being done without the aid of grants or loans, raising water rates, or using funds from other departments. 

Scottville’s budget revenue is about 15% ahead of projections 3/4 through the fiscal year (July 1 – June 30). Winter taxes continue to come in with February 14 being the due date. Water and sewer revenues are slightly ahead of projections as well. A water rate increase from the City of Ludington was absorbed last January and revenues are still outpacing projections. New water meters were installed and more accurate readings from those users has decreased the amount of “water loss” by about 15%. 

Fall Festival is schedule for Saturday, September 16 and the Downtown Development Authority will be looking for volunteers this year. The DDA will be coordinating the event. If people are interested contact City Hall for information.

We filled two City Commission seats over the last two months with Susan Evans and Al Deering, both come with great backgrounds and are ready to continue proceed with the many accomplishments our city has seen over the last few years under the leadership of Mayor Marcy Spencer and the other city commissioners along with the members of the Planning Commission and DDA. 

Five Michigan State University planning department students have begun working on a “walkability” study linking assets in the City with the downtown area. The plan and presentation is part of their practicum and stands between them and graduation. Three are master’s level graduate students and two are undergraduates working on bachelor’s degrees.

The new police truck is here and over the course of the next few months it will be outfitted with the necessary equipment and will be on patrol soon. Currently it will be used periodically by the Scottville Police Department and staff until all the equipment is installed. There are a few critical components that are backordered due to supply chain issues.

Additionally, the City has been in conversations with Mason County and the Mason County Sheriff’s Office about contracting administrative services and patrol services with the sheriff’s office. If we come to an agreement, Scottville Police Department will still exist but patrols will be offset by deputies. It’s likely the sheriff’s office will take over the school resource officer position, which actually will be an additional benefit for the citizens of Scottville. It will mean an additional police officer will be on duty during the school day at no extra expense from the city’s general fund. This would be a great partnership between our two agencies. 

New developments also include a large retail store purchasing and building in downtown. It will mean some major addition of much needed retail services in our downtown. 

The City has applied for almost $10 million in grant dollars over the past two years. While competition for state and federal grant money is very competitive we will continue to apply for a portion of that funding. If granted, these funds will make serious improvements to water/sewer infrastructure, Riverside Park, and the City overall. Last fall the City Commission approved the creation of a community development director position. We are still working towards the goal of filling this position, which will help in many areas of development in our community, especially with grant writing. 

It has been a long time since the City of Scottville has seen the forward-movement momentum it is currently experiencing. We are always looking for citizens who want to get involved in the city. There are currently openings on Planning Commission, Board of Review and the DDA. Anyone who is interested can email me at citymanager@cityofscottville.org or feel free to call me at 231-757-4729.

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