2009-09-10 / Front Page

Adjustments will be made to contested park sign

BY SARAH HARBISON STAFF WRITER

DAVISON — A donated neighborhood park sign that caused an uproar among neighbors and resulted in Councilman Tim Bishop storming out of a city council meeting will be lowered and landscaped in order to resolve the issue.

A committee consisting of City Manager Dale Martin, Mayor Pro Tem Keith Flewelling, sign donor Cliff Murray and neighbor Fred Haver came to a resolution together in regards to the sign.

“We will relocate the sign so that it’s parallel to the sidewalk, add the shrubbery and put a white stone underneath the sign and a plaque will be placed on the sign where it reads playground and will read Scofield Park,” Murray said following the meeting Sept. 3 in Martin’s office.

While Haver could not make the Sept. 3 meeting, he sat down with Martin and Mayor Fred Fortner the evening prior to discuss ways to adjust the sign to make it more appealing for the whole neighborhood.

“We went over some things and Mr. Haver’s original suggestions actually already paralleled what Mr. Murray had offered to do, so I think the resolution was actually much easier than anticipated,” said Martin. “It’s unfortunate that we had to spend as much time on this issue as we did.”

Murray said he will pay for the shrubbery, plaque and stone to be placed underneath the sign. Martin said the Department of Public Works would donate the labor costs of lowering and realigning the sign with the sidewalk.

“I think the meeting went real well,” said Flewelling. “I think we’ve resolved any issues that were out there and the sign is going to be a nice addition to that little park and it’s going to be rearranged.”

The garden planted in the park by Jim and Alice Wallberg will be removed by Oct. 31, after their pumpkins cur- rently planted there are grown. After that, private gardens will no longer be allowed in the park, said Martin.

The park sign, donated in July by Murray, became the topic of debate at the Aug. 24 City Council meeting, when some council members questioned when the sign was approved, who approved it and if any permits were acquired or fees paid on the sign.

Martin approved the sign, classifying it as a public sign since it would be on city property. The classification makes it exempt from permit or fees. The INDEX previously reported that, according to a Michigan Press Association attorney, Martin was within his legal rights as manager to classify the sign without prior council approval.

However, Flewelling said the issue’s resolution should be pleasing to everyone involved.

“It was a joint effort to resolve the issue,” said Flewelling.

Haver could not be reached for comment or reaction to the resolution.

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