CADILLAC — Trash cans aren’t the most glamorous feature of a public space, but that doesn’t make them any less necessary or expensive.
At the Cadillac City Council meeting last week, Matt Biolette, director of municipal services for Republic Services, presented Mayor Carla Filkins with a check for $5,881 for “solid waste management services that will be located” at the proposed trailhead White Pine Trail.
Biolette said Republic Services, which provides trash removal services for the City of Cadillac, donated $10,000 a few years ago for the development of Cadillac Commons and when told of the opportunity to contribute to the trailhead, they jumped on it. He said Republic Services “likes to be involved” in these types of projects.
Project engineer Connie Boice, along with Prein and Newhof, said the money donated by Republic Services will be used to purchase three receptacles for trash and three for recyclables.
As of late last year, the project has stalled as the council has yet to decide which company, if any, will award the contract to build the trailhead.
On November 3, 2021, the city held a bid opening for the trailhead project and the following bids were received: $416,247.19 from CJ’s Excavating in Cadillac, $466,946.96 from Crawford Contracting in Mount Pleasant , $542,402.60 from Salisbury Excavating in Tustin, $569,759.50 from Malley Construction in Mount Pleasant, and $661,775.41 from Greenscape General Contracting in Lake, Michigan.
The plan calls for the trailhead to be located at the corner of Lake and Chapin streets in what is now a parking lot south of the AMVETS building and After 26 Depot Cafe.
The project started in 2018, when the city received a grant from the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund to expand the White Pine Trail and build a new trail. In September 2020, the council received initial bids for the project, but when the lowest bid came down to $620,000, they asked Prein and Newhof to make some revisions to keep costs down.
The council ultimately chose the cheapest option offered, which involved putting the White Pine Trail on existing bike lanes rather than a separate trail along Lake Street, which would have meant widening a sidewalk existing or a railway option behind the library.
Although the bike path option was the cheapest, it was also not eligible for DNR trust fund money. But there was a way to get the project done without leaving money on the table: Cadillac could maximize the MNR Trust Fund grant by adding trailhead amenities.
Boice said the proposal now includes a number of amenities such as bike racks, benches, a drinking fountain, a bike repair station, picnic tables, trash cans and card kiosks. .
It also now uses the clock tower that had been in place for many years at the corner of Mitchell and Cass streets, where the Cadillac Lofts are now located. Boice said the clock tower will be positioned above the trailhead entrance, allowing cyclists to pass underneath as they enter.
Three alternative plans were also drafted alongside the “baseline” plan. They include adding a “picnic shelter” area to the trailhead; completely rebuild the car park instead of partially rebuilding it; and the addition of a cycle crossing at Cottage Street.
While the alternate plans would be more expensive than the basic plan, Boice said they could allow the city to qualify for more of the DNR grant.
With material costs increasing in recent months and some materials harder to find, Boice said there is uncertainty in the overall price of the project. To address these uncertainties, Boice said it has built into the proposal a 15% reserve to allow for cost increases up to a certain amount. If the costs exceed this eventuality, the additional expenses will have to be approved by a council.
Subject to council approval, Boice said it was possible work on the site could begin this spring. She anticipates that the matter will be put on the board’s agenda at future meetings.
When the project begins, Boice said the northbound Lake Street lane will be closed until it is complete. The project should take between eight and ten weeks.