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Winter East Express

East Express | January 21, 2021




A NOTE FROM MAYOR FAVALE
Hello Friends and Neighbors,

Happy New Year! For many of us, 2020 was one of the most difficult years of our lives. It brought unprecedented challenges to us locally, nationally and globally. Throughout all of these challenges, I have been very proud of our residents and extremely grateful to all of our City staff for the creativity, perseverance and resilience we have shown as a community.

Due to this resilience, we not only managed to survive, but also thrived in many ways. With 2020 behind us, I look forward to 2021 with a sense of hope and excitement for a better year and many more to come.

During 2021, I will continue to hold office hours, so please reach out to me to schedule an appointment. Additionally, I will resume EGR Coffee Talks — the next one will be on Feb. 17. More details to come.

I am also renewing my commitment to make myself as available to our residents as possible. Your thoughts and input are very important to me so please reach out — I would love to hear from you!

Cheers to the new year! Wishing you all a healthy, happy and prosperous 2021.

All the best,

Katie


CITY MANAGER’S OFFICE & FINANCE

TWITTER COVID-19 UPDATE

COVID-19 RESOURCES & INFORMATION
City Hall continues to follow state and local guidelines. As of Jan. 16, the Community Center will be open for business-related and permitted recreation activities. The library reopened to the public on Jan. 19 — see below for details. You can find resources and more information at eastgr.org/covid.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services recently shared a projected vaccination timeline — take a look on its website.

Additionally, the EGR COVID-19 Volunteer Task Force is up and running again ready to help residents and community members. Learn more about the program on our website.

WINTER PROPERTY TAXES
Winter property taxes are due Feb. 15. You can make a contactless payment online or by dropping it off in our secure drop box located in the front vestibule of City Hall any time before the due date. For more information, visit our Property Taxes webpage.

ADVISORY BOARDS
Looking to get involved in the community? You can apply for an advisory board position on the Planning, Parks & Recreation or Library commissions, the Board of Review or the EGR Community Foundation board at any time by visiting our website.

Appointments are made by the Mayor and affirmed by the City Commission each year before the start of the fiscal year on July 1.  

COMMUNITY BLOOD DRIVE
The next Community Blood Drive he next community blood drive will take place Jan. 26 from 2-7 p.m. in room 105 of the Community Center. Please sign up by appointment at donate.michigan.versiti.org.

REAL ID

GET YOUR REAL ID
Remember, you’ll need a REAL ID by Oct. 1, 2021 to fly in the U.S. and enter some federal facilities per federal law. Learn more at Michigan.gov/REALID.



PARKS & RECREATION
2021 SPRING PROGRAM GUIDE AVAILABLE
You can now virtually flip through and register for classes via the Parks & Rec. program guide! Please note the following:
  • The Spring program guide will NOT be sent by mail.
  • All programming will adhere to CDC, State and local recommendations and guidelines. Health and safety protocols can be found at eastgr.org/recreation and eastgr.org/covid.
  • We will update our virtual guide as needed to provide you the most current information.
  • You can register online. We also welcome phone enrollments as well as in-person registration at 750 Lakeside Dr.
Dog running in snow

CLEAN UP AFTER YOUR PETS
We ask that you help maintain our community’s health by picking up after yourself and your pets when out in the neighborhoods, parks and trails. Please dispose of any trash you create or see and pick up animal waste.



PUBLIC SAFETY
CITY OF EGR EXPANDS #9PMROUTINE TO PREVENT THEFTS
Thefts that could have been prevented top EGR’s 2020 crime stats.

To address this issue and help stop this trending crime, we're inviting residents and community members to further engage in the #9PMRoutine by sending nightly text reminders at 9 p.m. This program begins this evening and will run through the end of March. Sign up by texting “9PMRoutine” to 833.311.0194.

Those who want to get in the habit of checking their doors each night but don’t want to receive a text message are encouraged to set a recurring alarm on their cell phone for 9 p.m. or a time most convenient for them each evening.

What is our Public Safety Department doing to help protect the community? Read our latest news article to learn more.  

9PMRoutine Texting



PUBLIC WORKS
PUBLIC WIFI IN EGR
At its Sept. 21 meeting, the City Commission approved a contract with Kent County for the installation of three Wi-Fi units in East Grand Rapids. These units are located in Gaslight Village, John Collins Park and Manhattan Park and provide free public Wi-Fi access for up to 50 users at once with a broadcast range of up to 900 feet.

This project was administered by Kent County, in partnership with The Right Place, to address the need for free access to the internet from public locations throughout the County due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Starting costs and monthly payments through the end of 2020 were paid by the County through CARES Act funding. The City has committed to take on the monthly charge of ~$40 over the next two years and will then reevaluate its use and need.

Please note that because this Wi-Fi is public, it is not secure. Public Safety discourages accessing private information using this connection. Learn more by reviewing the Sept. 21, 2020 meeting agenda and/or watching the meeting on YouTube.

ELECTRIC VEHICLE CHARGING STATIONS
Working with Hage Automotive, the City will be installing electric vehicle charging stations at the Community Center and the public parking lot on Croswell in Gaslight Village. There are no costs to the City for the charging stations or ongoing maintenance. Installations are anticipated for late spring. Stay tuned for updates!

Power lines and snowy trees

CONSUMERS ENERGY TREE TRIMMING/REMOVAL
To improve the reliability of its electric service, Consumers Energy will conduct tree trimming and removals in private utility easements in January and February in various areas around EGR. Take a look at the maps below for details.

Postcard notices from Consumers Energy were mailed to residents in the areas where tree work will be completed and follow up notices will also be sent before work starts. To learn more about the tree trimming process, FAQs and contact information for Consumers Energy, please visit the Consumers Energy Trees and Power Lines webpage.

Please note: Consumers Energy is a private electric utility that is regulated by the State of Michigan through the Michigan Public Service Commission. When tree trimming and removal work takes place, contractors working for Consumers Energy will chip branches and brush and cut larger wood and leave it stacked on site. When the tree trimming and removal work is completed, the City will provide a special yard waste pickup to the impacted areas to pick up any brush of larger cut wood that is placed out in the right-of-way (typically between the street and sidewalk).

Maps

EAST GRAND RAPIDS RIGHT-OF-WAY TREE PRUNING
The City has a proactive tree maintenance program cycle to maintain over 7,200 public right-of-way trees that are part of the City urban forestry canopy. City contractors will be working in the Friday yard waste/composting route this February (southwest area of the City) to prune trees that have been evaluated by forestry experts. The contractor will remove and clean up limbs and branches that are removed as part of the pruning process.

LGROW 2021 WINTER NEWSLETTER
The Lower Grand River Organization of Watersheds has prepared its seasonal update! Take a look at the 2021 Winter Newsletter for important updates, tips on how to protect our watershed this season as well as a recap on the activities completed in 2020.


     


COMMUNITY PARTNERS
KDL RESUMES IN-BRANCH HOURS
On Tuesday, Jan. 19, our community library resumed regular in-branch hours, welcoming the public back into its physical space at 30% capacity. Learn more about its health and safety protocols at kdl.org.  

KDL logo + books

OUTDOOR REFRESHMENT AREA IN GASLIGHT VILLAGE
In collaboration with Gaslight Village restaurant owners, the City is installing two covered steel structures in the City-owned right-of-way space in front of Shopping Center Plaza. The first structure has already been installed. 

Tables and lighting will be provided for both structures and electrical outlets turned on for anyone who would like to utilize the space and bring their own heater this winter. These structures will remain in place through the spring and summer months to provide alternative options for guests and patrons as MDHHS orders prohibit or restrict indoor dining.

Structure



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