Sara Swanson

Vailliencourt presents “State of the Village” to the Chamber of Commerce

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Village President Pat Vailliencourt dedicating the new Main Street Bridge last May.

Village President Pat Vailliencourt presented a “State of the Village” address to the Manchester Area Chamber of Commerce during its April monthly meeting. She praised the current Village Council as “highly dedicated” and “frugal”, and for its focus on the downtown business district. She then highlighted the village’s investment in infrastructure and modernizing over the last six years. When the projects being planned for the upcoming year are completed, the village will have invested almost $6,000,000 into our community, 85% of which will have come from donations and outside grants.

In the past few years, the Village has redesigned the Main Street-scape, replaced the Main Street Bridge, a mile of water main, renovated Kirk Park, completed Phase 1 of the Multi-Use Trail including the new deck overlooking the river, cleaned and televised all sewer lines using GPS then digitally scanned the information and plans so it is available electronically. These are just the beginning though, as the Village has many more improvements planned for the coming year.

The Village will install about $360,000 worth of sidewalks at no cost to residents through the Safe Routes to School Program. These sidewalks will run along vacant lots in Manchester Woods, the four corners on East Main in front of schools, Duncan Street between Beaufort and Division, Duncan Street from M-52 to Adrian Street, Adrian Street and Ockrow crosswalk, Madison and Macomb crosswalk, and North Washington and Madison to the shared-use trail.

Construction will begin in 2018 on the River Raisin Park. This $400,000+ project, though rejected previously, was awarded a Michigan DNR grant when the Village partnered with Washtenaw County Parks to include a canoe livery with put in at Sharon Mills and take out at the River Raisin Park, creating a canoe route ending in the Village of Manchester. Currently the Village is taking estimates on dredging the mill pond. Projected to cost $175,000, this project could possibly be completed this summer.

This fall, the Village will install a new play structure at Kirk Park suitable for children aged 2 to 5, perfect for younger siblings to play on while their older brothers and sister are playing ball. In addition, they are working on a five-year plan to start street maintenance projects. The Village received a $10,000 CTAP tourism grant that will be used to partially fund the Sesquicentennial promotion, walking signage around the Village and more. The DDA also received a county economic development grant, completed a survey of existing downtown businesses, and hired a consultant to determine how to fill vacant storefronts.

Vailliencourt and Village Manager Jeff Wallace have invested many hours into getting Manchester certified through Michigan’s Redevelopment Ready Communities Program. This program supports communities to become development ready and competitive in today’s economy making them more attractive for investments. Vailliencourt reported that the program requires the Village to submit lots of documentation, but that once the process is completed, Manchester will have a place on the “Ready Redevelopment” list given to businesses moving to Michigan.

We are definitely witnessing a multi-year downtown make-over, a result of the dedication and hard work of the Village Council, Village president, Village manager, and DDA. And, remembering the year without the Main Street bridge, Vailliencourt promised “no major tear-ups anytime soon!”

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