Good afternoon Eaton Rapids.  It is the 21st of July and we are mid-way through our always interesting Michigan summer.  First we have torrential rains with no breaks insight.  Then we are hit with an unparalleled heat wave that seemed oppressive to some but welcome by others.

Hopefully, we have located our “happy place” and the 2nd half of our summer will be more congenial than the first half.

Congratulations to our Eaton Rapids softball and baseball teams.  What a remarkable effort by not only our players but by our coaches.  A special thank you to the parents of our athletes. Without their love and support much of this wouldn’t be possible. Sitting in the stands, getting them to practices, buying those little extras that aren’t supplied.  Making the team dinners and proudly displaying the “WE R ER” shirts, stickers and signs goes to prove that we are, indeed, “ER!”

Many of you are familiar with the Eaton Rapids District Library.  Anna Curtis and her talented staff do much to bring a variety of programs, services, publications etc to our community. For those who lack computer access in their homes there is access at the library.  Programs run the gamut. From Early Literacy and story time to quilting, tree identification, movie nights, make it and take its, book clubs, knitting club, the Friends of the Library organization etc.  Anything and everything is available.  If you live in the City of Eaton Rapids, Hamlin Township or Eaton Rapids Township there is no charge to belong to the library. Simply complete your Eaton Rapids District Library card application and start enjoying the wonders that are available.

The ERADL has recently gone “fine free.”  There are no longer late fees associated with not having that book back on time.

The ERADL hours are Monday 10:00 am until 7:00 pm, Tuesday 10:00 am until 5:00 pm, Wednesday 10:00 am until 7:00 pm, Thursday 10:00 am until 7:00 pm, Friday 10:00 am until 5:00 pm.  The library is closed on Saturdays from May until September.  Check out their website at www.eradl.org.

As many of you know the City of Eaton Rapids has embarked on a much needed property maintenance program.  The city council adopted new rules and provided the building inspector with an assistant to accomplish the goals that Council set.

The first part of the program was designed to address residences.  It has been controversial, I know that. Not everybody is pleased with having to upgrade their properties. I understand that. We have made money available to help offset your project costs. Few have taken advantage of this.  We have secured a large grant that will offer homeowners up to $7,500.00 to remedy housing inadequacies. These are income and need based grants.

Our DDA has extended Façade grant monies to several businesses in the downtown and the improvements in both our neighborhoods and on our Main St. are starting to become evident.

The property maintenance inspections are entering their second phase. The building inspectors are now engaged in addressing commercial properties. Commercial building owners will also be held to the standards as set forth by the City Council.

The other item that goes hand in hand with the property maintenance code will be the drafting and adoption of a rental inspection ordinance for residential properties.  A committee has been formed made up of City Council, the building inspectors and members of the Planning Commission.  We are seeking input from our landlords so that a finely crafted and fair ordinance can be drafted and adopted.  This is not just another “revenue generator” for the City of Eaton Rapids.  This is to ensure that our residential rental properties are up to code and that renters are not being subjected to poor living conditions based on their incomes.

As a police officer in this community for over 30 years I went to many rental properties that were substandard.  They were that way because some landlords felt that people that were economically disadvantaged didn’t deserve better. Dignity and fair housing having nothing to do with income level.  Just because you can’t afford to buy your own home doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be treated with respect.  We will make these changes and it is my hope that by working with our landlords we can raise the level of public perception and community pride.

We will hold a City Council election this coming November.  New council members will be elected to represent our 3 precincts.  The Mayor and Councilperson at Large position will be scheduled for the election in 2021.  As of the writing of this article one person has filed to run in each precinct. One incumbent is running. Two incumbents are stepping down as they have honorably fulfilled a commitment to their community.  The decision to pursue public office is not for everyone. Please take the time to support these candidates when it comes time to cast your ballot.

As always, continue to live, work, play and make Eaton Rapids a great place to live and raise your family.