Big Rapids is applying for a community development block grant for an infrastructure project in the summer of 2023


BIG RAPIDS – A major infrastructure project along State Street is underway for the city of Big Rapids for next summer.

The city commission held a public hearing on a request for a grant from the community development bloc to help fund the project at its meeting last week.

Following the public hearing, the board approved the Michigan Economic Development Corporation Community Development Block Grant application in the amount of $2 million.

“The city will apply for $2 million in CDBG funds to replace the water main on State Street between Chestnut Street and Sports Drive to improve citywide reliability,” the grant coordinator said. , Suzanne Wiggins. “The city will commit funds from its Water Replacement Fund in the amount of $400,000 in matching grant funding.

“The State Street Watermain is the oldest remaining watermain in the city, having been installed in the early 1950s, and impacts water service capacity, water pressure water and fire protection for over 2,000 residents, Ferris State University and numerous community businesses,” she continued. “The main waterline is the mainline serving the State Street Tower at Chestnut Street and the Ferris Tower at Sports Drive, and the Perry Avenue Tower. If there is a break, it affects a lot of residents in those areas.”

The city intends to replace the aging cast iron pipes with flexible PVC C900 plastic pipes that will allow for more movement and shifting when the ground freezes and thaws, Wiggins said. This will be done by directional drilling into the rights-of-way to reduce impacts to the road, driveways and sidewalks along State Street.

“Now is the perfect time to replace it as MDOT intends to repave the road and we would like to complete the project before then so as not to affect the new surfacing,” she said.


During the meeting, the board also approved a resolution awarding a bid to Fenstermacher Asphalt and Paving to repave Jackson Street and North Third Avenue at a cost of $77,190.

Jackson Street and North Third Avenue are part of the city’s ongoing Gravel Street paving initiative, Gifford said. In order to pave the streets, trees will need to be removed from the right-of-way to keep the newly paved roadway centered and to meet the city’s minimum width standards.

“I think it will bring a nice improvement to the area,” Gifford said. “We recommend Fenstermacher. We have worked with them in the past and have no reservations about working with them on this project.


The long-awaited airport runway expansion appears to be finally getting underway as the board approved the award of an engineering services tender to Mead and Hunt Engineering Services as consulting engineers for Roben Hood Airport.

“For 12 years, Mead and Hunt were the contracted consultants at the airport,” said manager Steve Schroeder. “They have assisted and advised on many projects. In November, the five-year deal with them expired. Once it was learned that there was additional funding available for the track project, the selection process was launched, and Mead and Hunt was the only company to submit a Statement of Qualifications.

The new contract will be for five years, or until all projects are completed.

Additionally, the council approved a contract with Bill Jernstadt for agricultural services to cut and scoop weeds on approximately 230 acres of land surrounding the airport runway.

“We made the decision to convert to grasses to help reduce wildlife near the airport,” Schroeder said. “Now we need to mow and refloat the grasses. Jernstadt has been cultivating the land for several years. He knows airport operations and security areas, and the staff recommends giving him the job.

The terms of the contract are $1,000 per year for the services.


During the meeting, the board also approved the following resolutions:

  • Approval of extension of Star Shooters bar and restaurant on Michigan Avenue to Yellow Window and Little Brown Sack Deli and former JC Penny building to accommodate a beer tent, tables and chairs in a secure area for the 2022 Big Rapids High School Alumni Reunion;
  • Approve the application for a charitable gaming license by the Mecosta County Sheriff’s Group to hold a raffle and silent auction at Buffalo Wild Wings later this year;
  • Approval of listing agreements with Joe McNally of Re/Max Together Realty, for the three lots on Rust Avenue at $32,000 per lot and for the lot at 124 Bellevue for $21,000; and
  • Approved a contract with GovHR USA for recruiting services to help the city find replacements for City Attorney Eric Williams, who is retiring and City Treasurer Aaron Kuhn, who has resigned.

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