W.T. Morris pool tile to be replaced before opening to public on June 5

By Ralph Echtinaw

St. Louis residents should finally be able to enjoy improvements to the W.T. Morris swimming pool this year, as the facility is scheduled to open on June 5.

Virus concerns kept the pool closed last year, so many residents had no opportunity to use the new and improved facility.

The city has spent $145,000 on the pool house since 2018. All but $45,000 of that was covered by a Gratiot Community Foundation grant and donations.

The bathrooms were upgraded with new toilets, urinals and plumbing. The floor was replaced. The outer facade was changed dramatically to match city hall. And a metal shark was added for decoration.

Now 80 square feet of tile around the pool must be replaced. Councilmen authorized spending up to $10,000 on the job Tuesday. “Our guys in the water department have been putting (loose tile) back on for a number of years now,” said City Manager Kurt Giles.

“We are planning to have all the tile removed and replace it with the plaster coat and then paint the strip blue where the tile were before,” said Giles via email.

The contract is expected to be awarded to Mann Painting or A.R. Peters Pool Painting. The latter has already submitted a bid. Mann Painting is bring up the rear.

The cost was an unpleasant surprise for Giles, who said, “Nothing seems to be less (costly) these days than we anticipate.”

New cop gone already

Police chief Richard J. Ramereiz was pleased to announce on Feb. 3 that Doug Stacer, a former Saginaw police officer with 23 years of experience, was hired to fill a full-time position in St. Louis.

The department spent several weeks training Stacer, and he only just entered the regular work rotation a couple weeks ago.

Well, Stacer has resigned to take a better paying job with the Buena Vista Township police department (in Saginaw County). Stacer specialized in handling police dogs in Saginaw, and that’s what he’ll do in Buena Vista Township, Ramereiz said.

It’s not clear if Stacer’s sudden absence will foul up the newly announced schedule that included three 12-hour shifts. Ramereiz had this to say via email: “Officer Crowther is opposite Officer Stacer for this midshift. Officer Crowther will still be working his 12 hour rotation.”

Burch on board

Don George Burch, 73, was appointed to Zoning Board of Appeals Tuesday. One of City Clerk Mari Anne Ryder’s election workers since 2006, Burch was recruited by Councilman Bill Leonard, who said, “He’s a five star guy. He will do well.”

If you’d like to serve the city on a board or commission, check out the vacancies on the Building Code Board of Appeals, Cemetery Committee, Parks and Recreation Commission, Planning Commission and Zoning Board of Appeals.

Contact the city if you are interested in serving.

Bridge work

Councilmen approved a $69,900 agreement with Spicer Group, a Saginaw-based civil engineering firm, to study water flow in the Pine River from the dam downstream to the city limits (a distance of 6,000 feet).

That study is a necessary first step in the process of shoring up the riverbank to prevent erosion that could damage the bridge.

Donald R. Scherzer of Spicer said that the North Main Street bridge “has a high vulnerability to erosion along the bridge foundations that may result in this structure becoming unstable during high flows.”

The construction phase of the project, expected to occur next year, is estimated to cost $492,000. The Michigan Department of Transportation’s Local Agency Bridge Program will cover 95 percent of that with the city picking up the rest.

It’s likely that the anti-erosion improvements will take the form of a paved slope on the riverbank near the bridge. “That’s the type of treatment that was shown in a conceptual drawing,” Giles said. “We’ll see if that continues to be the recommendation once the study portion is completed.”

“We will be armored from the Electric Plant all the way around to the bridge,” said Public Services Director Keith Risdon.

A Slab for DPW

Councilmen approved spending $5,200 with Seifert Concrete for installation of a 24-foot by 32-foot concrete slab at the DPW for storage of pea stone and crushed concrete.

Stimulus funds

Federal government stimulus funds are coming to Gratiot County an each municipality therein. The amount St. Louis receives is undermined but expected to be significant. “Among several eligible uses, are infrastructure improvements that include water, wastewater and broadband development,” Giles said via email. “City staff intends to recommend our allocation be put toward water and/or wastewater system improvements.”

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