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December 18, 2012

Constantine Village President Pat Weiss provides US-131 bypass update

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Written by: Bruce Snook
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Constantine Village Office - brickwork

President Pat Weiss updated the Constantine village council Monday evening (December 17) on the status of the proposed bypass along U.S. 131.

Weiss said she attended a December 11 meeting of 35 Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) representatives, and contractors at the MDOT office in Kalamazoo.

Village President Pat Weiss updated the Constantine Village Council Monday evening on the status of the proposed bypass along U.S. 131.

“All properties necessary for the bypass to go through have been secured, and everyone is eager to start the project,” she said.  Weiss reported to the council that work is scheduled for February 1 through November 1, 2013.

A delegation from MDOT will attend the January 21 council meeting as a “kick off” celebration, with an opportunity to ask questions.

“When the project is completed, they plan a big ribbon cutting ceremony,” she said. “When the bypass opens I feel we will have achieved our dream.”

Weiss also told the council she was interested in joining the Michigan Association of Mayors, and asked if there was interest in a mayor exchange program.  “It’s a good way to learn tricks other communities use to cut down expenses,” she said. “Plus, it’s a lot of fun and you get the chance to show off your community.”

Trustee Gary Mathers approved, saying he has attended exchange programs twice, and it was a good opportunity to learn.

In other council business, Village Manager Mark Honeysett told the council he spoke with County Clerk Pattie Bender and Village Attorney Howard Bush, and they both indicated an election should be scheduled for February 26, 2013 to decide whether to appoint, rather than elect the village clerk and treasurer.

Earlier, the position of clerk and treasurer were elected positions. The council passed a new ordinance to appoint persons for the position on October 1.  At the November 19 council meeting petitions challenging the ordinance were submitted that required the matter go to a referendum vote.

“Ms. Bender told me she must receive official notice of the election (from the council) by tomorrow in order to schedule the election for February,” Honeysett said. “Part of me thinks just get it done, but the Village will be on the hook (to pay for) ballots, election workers and other expenses at a cost of $1,000-$1,600.”

Several council members asked if the election could be scheduled with another one, to share expenses.  Honeysett offered to consult with the election board, and said he thought the election could be canceled if the council so chose.

Honeysett reported someone failed to notify Three Rivers City Manager Joe Bippus of a meeting between Constantine sewer attorney Scott Smith and representatives of Three Rivers Clean Water Plant (wastewater treatment plant). The meeting has been rescheduled for December 26.  “We still need a little more paperwork from Clean Water, but it’s just an oversight,” he said. “They’ve been very cooperative, and we’ll have more dialogue about it at the meeting,” he said.

Honeysett said Nature’s Fuel representatives said they were putting down a portion of a down payment on the former Rexam building within the next several weeks.  “There’s been nothing officially said since the last meeting, but they’re not quite ready to close on the building yet.”  He added Nature’s Fuel said they had been fielding inquiries from potential investors.

Honeysett reported he was contacted by the Merry Lea Environmental Learning Center of Goshen College to arrange a tour for ten people of Pioneer Hi-Bred, on November 20.  “It was a politics and policy class, so they were interested in how the company interacts with local government, and how we benefit from them,” he said. “Since we’re the World Seed Corn Capital, we’re pretty ‘pro Pioneer.'”

Source:  Story and photo contributed by Angie Birdsall.


  1. ...not another I have dream speech

    “When the project is completed, they plan a big ribbon cutting ceremony,” she said. ”When the bypass opens I feel we will have achieved our dream.”

    Reminds me of the commercial with the two singers that stop and say “Folks that save hundreds by switching to Geico are happy……How happy? Happier than a mayor with her house on a highway that’s about to get a bypass.

    A dream? Really? I think if you go back to what was originally proposed years ago with a 4 lane bypass with all the bells and whistles vs the pittance of what we are actually getting for a 2 lane, and what streets get dead ended. How many of the 5 items MDOT promised us in this bypass that were negotiated are we actually getting again?…I mean if this is the big dream, then wake me the frick up.

  2. Mike Haydon

    It is quite interesting to read that MDOT has acquired all properties to do the bypass. I have NOT settled with them yet on the portion of my property that they want and it is my understanding that several farmers have not settled yet either.

  3. Follow the yellow brick road..........

    Mr. Haydon, I’m no lawyer, but I think the answer to your question falls under the phrase “condemned for public use”. I think the courts can (and in this case probably have) granted MDOT the OK to proceed irrespective of what has or hasn’t been settled. I think that is all part of that so called “Dream” that someone alleges “we” are having (just not really sure who “we” is supposed to be, but it sure looks cool in print).

    You really don’t think a few farmers and hold outs are gonna stop this thing do you?…I mean c’mon–some folks (aka “we’) got this whole dream thing going on.

    Somehow I don’t think you are gonna get invited to the ribbon cutting ceremony.

  4. Angie Birdsall

    Hm…. Mike’s a great guy and I believe him, so I don’t know what’s up w/the MDOT. Weiss said they claimed “all properties were secured” and it’s full steam ahead w/this bypass Feb.-Nov. next year……..?

  5. Mike Haydon

    Well, Follow the yellow brick road, I can tell you that I have not signed or been served with any court paperwork stating MDOT has squired or been given my property. While not a large portion it is still mine. I am still dealing with MDOT and my point was not I or the farmers were able to stop it, my point was that disinformation is once again being given to us regarding this bypass.

  6. Follow the yellow brick road.....

    Well gosh…maybe they haven’t got to that part of the dream yet Mike. I’m sure “they” will let you know when “they” are ready–I’m sure it’s all part of that dream that Mayor Weiss eludes to that “we” are having. So I think the answer is wait for whoever “we” is to let you know. We’ll all be bypassed by this time next year…I’m sure it’ll all get sorted out between now and then.

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