Encore, firehalls, educational changes | Dexter Forum 05-16-20

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Dexter Forum, May 05, 2020

| 2 min | from John Hansen with Doug Marrin |

Dexter Forum, May 05, 2020

OK, we Zoomed again but I really miss seeing you all in person.  We still have information to share but it just isn’t the same without the personal contact.

We were updated on the ongoing negotiations between the Encore theater and the city on the deal that everyone wants to happen.  Councilmember Zach Michels, in his first attempt at headline writing, summed it up when he said, “we are all working together but everyone has to learn their lines before the curtain can rise”.

“Before the purchase is accomplished all the parties want to make sure that everything is going to be appropriate with the city in terms of zoning and the uses proposed,” commented Forum co-moderator Karl Fink who is also on the Board for Encore.

Councilmember Michels filled in some detail on part of the process of getting Encore into Copeland. “Copeland is has been a school property, and so it’s not zoned for commercial use. In order for the theater to move there, it needs to be rezoned. Now, if it gets rezoned commercial, that can make folks nervous because that means anything commercial could happen there in the future. So instead, Encore and the city are looking at something called ‘conditional zoning,’ which means it would be zoned commercial but with limitations.”

The Dexter fire station issue will celebrate another birthday as the ballot proposition is being moved to 2021.  The Webster station was waiting for construction bans to be lifted and can now move forward.

Webster Township Treasurer, John Scharf, was on hand to comment. “Construction was shut down, as part of the executive order until this past week. I am one of many anxiously awaiting to see the first earthmoving equipment show up on the site. As treasurer I was authorized by the Board on first of April to move the last bit of money required into our capital improvement fund. We have all of the money needed for the fire station sitting in that fund waiting to be spent on the project.”

The depth of experience of Forum attendees is amazing even if a little rusty.  Ann Davis, in a previous life, was the infection control officer at Chelsea hospital back during the AIDS outbreak.  She had high praise for Dr. Fauci and his scientific approach to our current crisis.  Distance, wash, mask – repeat.

Heidi Patel and Elise Bruderly announced the merger of the Education Foundation of Dexter and Excellence For Dexter Students.  There were lots of smiles for this very sensible action.
The shoes haven’t dropped yet but the summer concerts in the park and Dexter Daze are clearly in doubt.

School Board President, Julie Schumaker, expressed her appreciation for the two groups. “I would also like to add my congratulations and also my appreciation to both organizations. They have both contributed much-needed resources to schools and to our teachers. I know both Heidi and Elise and merging those two organizations together will make them stronger and more effective in helping our students and our teachers. So, thank you to you both for your leadership.”

The Dexter Guardian is on-line only for now according to reporter Aimee Osinski.  

We heard that the school district is seeking parent involvement as they study six alternative approaches to conducting classes in the fall.  It’s not just the elderly that are vulnerable to the virus.  There are kids with immune system problems too.  Like so many things now the answer comes down to the term – it depends.  Can we slow the rate of infection and gradually resume daily activities – or not.  It depends.

May is one of those five Saturday months so our next meeting will be in three weeks on Saturday, June 6 at 8:30 AM.  Our Zoom link required a password this morning.  It was Dexter with a capital D.  Some newer devices automatically capitalize the first letter but I had to go back and do that manually.