Welcome to May 2021 Eaton Rapids. I hope you are faring well and the COVID cloud is almost lifted. As Americans, we have proven our resiliency, determination, empathy and compassion. We have all sacrificed, in one form or another. If you have lost a loved one I am sorry. Each person that has been lost has been a piece of our American landscape puzzle.
We have all learned a valuable lesson. Live each moment. Cherish those around you. Find out what you are able to do to make our town, country and world a better place.
The last 18 months have seen so many rifts and challenges. People not being heard. Other people hearing but not listening. Perspectives lost in a flurry of protests and civil disobedience. Disrespect from both sides. Accusations and counter accusations. A lack of empathy for the plight of others and a feeling of entitlement on the part of some. It’s time to put down the signs, the clubs, the guns but most of all, the anger. Instead of hunting for others hunt within yourself for your humanity and for that common ground that binds us all together.
As Mayor, I have a myriad of duties. Some mundane, some exciting, some fulfilling and some not so much. One of the best parts of my job is receiving communication from the various community members, groups etc. Upon coming to my office in the beginning of March I discovered a large envelope under my office door. The outside was addressed as “ To the Mayor from Ms. Cooper’s class of First graders at ICA (Island City Academy). We learned about human characteristics this week and wanted to share with you some of our recreational feature ideas! Hope you enjoy!” Inside of the envelope were 19 individual letters letting me know what these kids wanted to see in their community. Monkey bars, trails, a bigger skate park, a zoo and aquarium and laser tag. The list went on and on. I shared the information with the Quality of Life director. What I learned is that these children have an awareness of their community and are willing to let me, us, know what their desires are. If we want Eaton Rapids to be a great place to live, work and raise a family we need to listen to our smallest component. They matter. Thank you Ms. Cooper for taking the time to share your children with me.
May has been declared, by council resolution, to be Monarch Butterfly Awareness month. Every year millions of Monarch butterflies (those are the orange and black ones for those of you that are uninitiated) travel north from their wintering grounds in Mexico to bless us with their splendor. Such a delicate creature yet it travels thousands of miles on the air currents to lend us their majesty. Much of their habitat is being diminished and their numbers have drastically been reduced over the last 20 years. I encourage all of you to plant some milkweed or nectaring plants to provide these wayward travelers with a meal.
The Eaton Rapids Outdoor Recreation Center anticipates opening to the public on Memorial Day weekend (May 28-31st). Hopefully, the weather and water co-operate. Come down to the ORC and rent a kayak and take a trip down river. A shuttle service between Mill Pointe Park and Bunker Rd is available for a nominal fee. Nothing beats a day on the Grand.
The Riverwalk project is progressing at a quick pace. Much of the new break wall has been installed, the walk way is taking shape and the new bridge is being manufactured. If you haven’t made a trip down to watch the activity I encourage you to do so. For me, the most amazing part is “How in the world did they get a tug boat in the river?” I asked. They brought it in on a couple of flatbed trailers. The 120 ft tall multi ton crane then lifted it and dropped it in the water and it was assembled by the construction crew. This long needed project was funded jointly by you, the MEDC and the DDA. It will truly be a show case when completed. Several City staff members spent countless hours seeing that this project would go forward. I owe them a debt of gratitude.
The City Council held a special council meeting on Monday, May 3rd. This was the final component in our budgetary process. The City Manager, Aaron DeSentz, presented council with detailed budget documents explaining and accounting for every dime. Everything from street paving projects, to park and recreation initiatives, to funding the fire department and the police department. We are in excellent financial shape and have done well in managing the recent upheaval. I would like to thank the City Manager, the city administrative staff and the City council for their diligence and desire to be fiscally responsible while seeing to it that the amenities that you desire are not over looked. I would especially like to recognize Councilman Wichman for taking his time to serve on the budget committee. He is our “numbers guy.”
We are still in dire need of folks to serve on several of our boards and committees. Council and city staff can’t do it all alone. Invest in your town if you want to make a difference and see changes. If not you, then who? You can call City Hall at 663-8118 or send me an email (email@example.com).
The Eaton Rapids Memorial Day observance will take place on Monday, May 31st. This event is sponsored by the Eaton Rapids Grand Army of The Republic museum organization and the Heroes Haven Veterans group. The parade is scheduled to start at 11:00 am and will travel north on Main St from Family Fare to Knight St. There will be a wreath laying event at Memorial Park (next to Red Ribbon Hall) and we are honored to welcome State Senator Tom Barrett as a guest speaker. If you are interested in being a participant please contact the GAR via facebook or email.
Finally, this Sunday is Mother’s Day. Take a moment to say thank you. That means more than all of the cards, flowers, candy and dinners.
As always, help to make Eaton Rapids a great place to live, work and raise your family.
I bid you Peace,