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History uncovered: Renovations take downtown business back in time

History uncovered: Renovations take downtown business back in time

SPARTA, Mich.—The owners of a downtown business are discovering some historic treasures as renovations take their building back in time.

Before it was Dollar N’ More, the building at 112 E. Division St. was the Johnson-Smith Department Store. According to Downtown Development Authority Director Elizabeth Morse, a fire on March 19, 1941 destroyed the store and all of its contents. Four months later, the building’s owner told the Sentinel-Leader she would rebuild the facility as a tribute to her late husband, August Johnson. 

Owen-Ames-Kimball Co.

Sparta puts Ambulance Barn up for sale

Sparta puts Ambulance Barn up for sale

SPARTA, Mich.—Sparta’s old Ambulance Barn is back on the market.

Village Manager Martin Super says the Village added the property to real estate listings last week.   The facility, located at  E. Gardner and Washington streets, is no longer used to house ambulances, but serves as a storage facility for community event supplies.

Super says the building could be better used by a company; he says the space is ideal for businesses like a car detail shop or a heating and cooling service.

Super says the Village will build a new facility near the Department of Public Works garage at 276 West Division, which will be large enough to house trailers for Sparta Town & Country Days.  Work on the new facility will likely begin in spring.

Sparta begins leaf pick-up October 14

Sparta begins leaf pick-up October 14

SPARTA, Mich.—It’s fall, which means leaves are littering the yards in Sparta.

The village will begin wide leaf pick-up for fall Monday, October 14.  Residents are asked to rake their leaves into piles between the curb and sidewalk area or near the street.   Leaves should not be raked into the streets, where they can clog storm drains.  Leaves contaminated by pet waste or trash will not be picked up.

Leaf pick-up service runs through the end of November. 

Artists add outdoor flair to downtown businesses

Artists add outdoor flair to downtown businesses

SPARTA, Mich.—Some fresh murals are beginning to grace the outer walls of businesses in downtown Sparta.

The first of three murals went up on the old Wolff’s Drugs building at Union and Division a few weeks ago.  In the next few weeks, a second piece will be installed on the exterior of the Historic Commission Offices at 71 N. Union; the final mural will grace the wall of Freeland Chiropractic at Division and Maple.

The pieces are the work of three finalists in this year’s “Art in Sparta Mural Review,” organized by the Downtown Development Authority.  The artists painted their work on a piece of material, which is then mounted onto the walls.  DDA Director Elizabeth Morse says the pieces are guaranteed for 10 years, but the village is willing to work with business owners who are concerned the artwork will inhibit selling their space.

Algoma Township sign ordinance amendment up for public discussion Oct. 15

Algoma Township sign ordinance amendment up for public discussion Oct. 15

ALGOMA TOWNSHIP, Mich.—An amendment to Algoma Township’s sign ordinance will be up for public discussion later this month.

Township officials say the amendment is meant to make the sign ordinance more uniform and readable, as well as easier to find and understand.  Supervisor Dennis Hoemke says nothing in the ordinance will be drastically changed.

The Algoma Township Planning Commission is expected to vote on the proposed amendment after a public hearing and discussion October 15.  The planning commission meeting begins at 7 p.m.  

Former school site to be transformed into new neighborhood

Former school site to be transformed into new neighborhood

SPARTA, Mich.—  What was once home to Sparta’s Central School will soon be transformed into a new neighborhood.

Rockford-based Sable Homes will break ground on “Central Town Square” at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, October 2. The development’s name is derived from the former Central School.  The 20-home neighborhood will be located along North Union, between Grove and Alma. 

Construction on Central Town Square is expected to create more than 60 temporary jobs.  Crews will begin by building three new homes immediately.

'Rock City BMX' track to take shape in Plainfield Township

'Rock City BMX' track to take shape in Plainfield Township

PLAINFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich.—A new BMX track in Plainfield Township will begin taking shape as early as next week.

Township Superintendent Cameron Van Wyngarden says on September 3, the Plainfield Township Board unanimously approved plans for West Michigan BMX’s new track, dubbed "Rock City BMX".  The track will sit on approximately 2.5 acres located within 10 Mile Park, adjacent to the Art Van Sports Complex.   

Van Wyngarden says West Michigan BMX plans to begin sculpting the track next week before bringing in a professional track designer around September 23.West Michigan BMX would like to finish most of the work on the track this fall so it will be operational by spring 2014.