City Council Highlights: KDL Annual Report and Presentation on Proposal One

This week’s City Council meeting had approximately 10 people in the audience for a meeting which lasted 45 minutes.  The bulk of the meeting had Councilmembers listening to the KDL Annual report and a presentation by City Manager Mike Burns about upcoming Proposal One, which will appear on the November ballot.

An Update from KDL
The Kent District Library (KDL) Director of Branch Operations thanked the City of Lowell for being partners with the branch.  The city owns the building in which the Englehardt Branch is located. Information presented before council was largely from 2017.

The Summer Reading Program was made easier to participate in by doing away with an online registration and tracking process.  Participants increased by 20%. In 2018 the program once again had a 20% increase in those who signed up. Englehardt was the second highest of all branches in terms of participation.  As an incentive for meeting their goal, Branch Manager Heather Wood-Gramza dressed as a dinosaur for an afternoon and is already thinking about something to do for next year. Councilmember Canfield requested the outfit be worn to next year’s annual report presentation before the board.

KDL branches check out over 8 million items per year – the highest in Michigan.  Their branches have over 2.8 million visitors each year. Wifi use continues to increase at all branches as well.

Wood-Gramza has been the Branch Manager at Englehardt for the past three years.  She said there is a 60% card holder rate in the community and over 100k people were served.  The branch has 36 hot spots available to check out. This was increased as a way to do away with and service a need.  Prior to adding additional available hotspots, there was a six month waiting period. The ability to check out this means of connecting to the internet provides a service for those who do not have access but still need to search for jobs, have kids be able to do homework, and more.  The wifi range outside the building was also increased, giving those taking in summer concerts on the Riverwalk the ability to connect free of charge.

Proposal One Coming in November
Proposal One will be on the November ballot.  This proposal deals with legalizing the use of marijuana for recreational use.  Should the measure pass, once certified, the City of Lowell will have 10 days to decide whether to opt in or out.  

City Manager Mike Burns provide information via slides to members of the council, outlining parameters the new law would entail.  Some of the rules include not authorizing the use of marijuana by people under the age of 21, operating any type of vehicle while under the influence of marijuana, and more than 2.5 ounces in any one person’s possession at any given time.  

The State of Michigan will determine regulation, somewhat similar to alcohol.  Taxation will also be put into place for the sale of marijuana.

Additional Agenda Items
Council also approved the purchase of 12 wayfinding signs.  Funds to pay for the signs come from a Lowell Area Community Fund grant from 2012.  Excess money from the grant after the purchase of signs and payment to Williams and Works for their work on the project will be returned to the fund.

A resolution was passed allowing the Friends of the Library group proceed with improvements for the library.  Specifically, they are looking to continue creating a reading garden at the front of the building. The group is also looking to add benches near the staff entrance to the building.  

The next City Council meeting will take place on Monday, October 15 at 7pm on the second floor of City Hall.

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