County transfers land to Otsego for road work

Ryan Lewis

Allegan County last week signed off on transferring 33 feet of industrial land to the City of Otsego last week, paving the way for some paving.
County commissioners unanimously voted at their meeting Thursday, Aug. 24, to transfer the land, which is part of the former Rock Tenn paper mill and adjacent to John Street, a short, deteriorating, narrow road next to three industrial properties.
The city intends to repave the road next year. Widening it would allows the city to update utility lines and enable truck traffic to more easily negotiate turns into and out of driveways along its 250 feet of length.
Otsego city manager Thad Beard said, “This enables us to proceed with our plans. We still have to figure out the transfer mechanism.”
County Commissioner Gale Dugan, whose district includes the city, said, “It is a transfer of 33 feet instead of an easement, so they have a total liability on this once we transfer the 33 feet to them.”
John Street runs south from West River Street to Helen Avenue. The mill property is to its west; to the east is the newly constructed Otsego Storage.
Allegan County owns it because the taxes went unpaid for several years. It has lingered on the county books, as the dilapidated building of the former mill requires by some estimates several million dollars in remediation to properly clean it up. The Allegan County Board of Commissioners has directed its staff to offload the property this year if possible.
County chief deputy treasurer Becky Rininger said she, county treasurer Sally Brooks and county executive director of services Dan Wedge had discussed the transfer.
“We feel this is a good move,” Rininger said.


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