RDA approves sale of vacant Mill Street building, hears plan for downtown flowers

by Emmitt B. Feldner of The Review staff

PLYMOUTH – The Redevelopment Authority found a buyer for the vacant Mill Street building they took possession of earlier this year.

Now they’re looking for someone to help beautify downtown – specifically, to take charge of the flower pots along Mill Street.

Karen Scheuerman outlined her ideas for the downtown greenery for the RDA Thursday.

She explained that the Chamber of Commerce, which has coordinated the placing and upkeep of about two dozen planters, most sponsored by downtown businesses, plans to terminate its oversight of them after this year.

“It’s my understanding is they (the chamber) don’t want to manage the project anymore,” City Administrator Brian Yerges said.

“I’m hoping the RDA can go ahead and run this program again, and I’m hoping to add on to the project,” beyond the sidewalk planters, Scheuerman told the group.

“I’d like you guys to think about this project. I would take this on if we had backing from someone. We need money from sponsors and somebody to handle the money,” Scheuerman said.

She explained that she would like to see plantings in the several decorative welcome and designation signs around the city. Those signs, such as the one at City Park, include planters but currently have no flowers planted in them.

“I’d like to see those planted with bright flowers,” Scheuerman said.

She said she had talked with village officials in Greendale, which has flowers throughout its downtown. “They have a corporate sponsor that donates for the pots, flowers and planters. From there, they get volunteers to plant and weed and the village waters them.”

Scheuerman conceded that watering is a major issue, noting that the pots need to be watered every other day during the summer and often more frequently.

She suggested that one solution would be to have volunteers water the pots using city equipment.

She also suggested that the project could utilize the greenhouse facilities and students at Plymouth High School to begin growing the flowers and perhaps help with planting them in the pots, as well as local garden centers.

Scheuerman said she had no estimates yet on what the program would cost, but said it might be $4,000 to $5,000. The two dozen or so sidewalk flower pots have cost around $3,400 a year in the past to plant and maintain.

RDA Chairman Lee Gentine noted that the downtown flower pots were originally purchased by the Downtown Revitalization Committee, which was disbanded when the RDA was created.

He said that the authority would put it on their agenda for further discussion next month.

The RDA approved the sale of the vacant 31 E. Mill St. building to Scott Weigert of Sheboygan Falls for $15,000. The RDA bought the long-vacant building from foreclosure for $14,651 earlier this year.

The RDA approved a developer’s agreement with Weigert that calls for a closing date for the sale of Dec. 15. Weigert would be required to raze the dilapidated garage next to the building by May 31 and to complete interior and exterior renovations by Dec. 15, 2014.

Weigert, a 1986 Plymouth High School graduate, plans to renovate the upstairs apartment – which he said he has a potential renter for – and turn the downstairs into office space for the Christian Intervention Program, which works with rehabilitating drug abusers.

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