At its 15-minute zoom meeting on Sept. 28, the Van Buren Township Downtown Development Authority praised outgoing DDA member Helen Foster, welcomed incoming member Velon Willis, and approved an expenditure[…]

At its 15-minute zoom meeting on Sept. 28, the Van Buren Township Downtown Development Authority praised outgoing DDA member Helen Foster, welcomed incoming member Velon Willis, and approved an expenditure for a keypad lock.
DDA member Helen Foster recently resigned from the board and board members said she will be greatly missed. Foster had been a township leader for many years, including her years as supervisor.
Velon Willis had been approved by the township board to take Foster’s place. Willis, who also had served on the former Civic Fund, owns two businesses in the DDA district: AAA Willis Insurance Agency and a staffing agency.
The board unanimously approved expenditure of $1,725 to Vigilante Security for a keypad lock that can be unlocked at a distance. This also incurs an additional $5 charge per month for security monitoring.
This will provide controlled access to the mechanical room at the Harris Park office. It reduces the need for keys and will provide better security that can be monitored visually and electronically, said Executive Director Susan Ireland.
She said staff did not accurately anticipate the number of times various workers would need to have access.
“Should an authorized person require access while no one is in the building, either the Executive Director or Assistant Executive Director will be able to visually see who is there and will be able to remotely unlock and lock the door, properly safeguarding this building,” Ireland wrote in a memo to the board.
In other business, the DDA:
• Heard Executive Director Ireland report that the sidewalk upgrades are done, a meeting is set up with the architect and Community Services Department to discuss the DDA-funded blackbox/cube for the new community center, and that day the county was sealing seams in the upgraded Belleville Road and would reopen it soon. “So much for the three-week project,” said DDA chairman Craig Atchinson, indicating it took a lot longer than that to complete since it started Aug. 5;
• Heard Ireland praise the work of Aerotropolis director Chris Girdwood who is helping the township market large-acreage sites available for development. The DDA recently paid the $25,000 annual dues to Aerotropolis for the township’s membership; and
• Heard Assistant Executive Director Lisa Lothringer tell about the email, social media, website, and magazine marketing on which she is working.

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