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Lowell Police Department introduces new fleet

Lowell Police Department introduces new fleet

LOWELL, Mich.—Speeding drivers beware: Lowell Police cruisers have a new look.

The Lowell Police Department unveiled its new fleet on Facebook last Friday.  The department says support from the Lowell Area Community Fund made the replacements possible.

Chief Steven Bukala is also encouraging community members to introduce themselves to the department’s new officers.  Bukala says retirements and officers moving to other agencies have led to many new faces on the force.

Kent County Board of Commissioners begins narrowing commissioner search

Kent County Board of Commissioners begins narrowing commissioner search

 LOWELL, Mich.—  Kent County officials say 13 people have applied to replace a Kent County Commissioner accused of sexually assaulting an underage girl.

Gary Rolls resigned from his District 4 seat Jan. 1.  In a statement released the previous month, Rolls said he would use his time to prepare for trial to “prove my absolute and complete innocence.”

The county is looking for someone to finish out his term, which ends Dec. 31, 2014. District 4 represents Lowell, Cannon Township, Grattan Township, Oakfield Township and Vergennes Township. Eligible candidates must be from one of those communities.

"We are fortunate to have received so many applications for this position," said Dan Koorndyk, chairman of the board of commissioners.

First 'bridge slide' in the state to take place in Lowell Township

First 'bridge slide' in the state to take place in Lowell Township

LOWELL TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP & WZZM) - The Michigan Department of Transportation is testing a new way to replace bridges without causing long traffic delays during construction.

The trick? Build the new bridge next to the old one, then slide it into place.The department says it will use the "bridge slide" technique for the first time on a project to widen the M-50 bridge over Interstate 96 in Kent County's Lowell Township, southeast of Grand Rapids.

The Iowa Department of Transportation performed its own bridge slide last year.  You can find a time lapse of the project on YouTube.

MDOT will detail its own bridge slide project and take public comments during a forum Wednesday, Jan. 8 at Lowell Township Hall.  The forum will run from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Kent County begins search for comissioner replacement

Kent County begins search for comissioner replacement

LOWELL, Mich.—The search is on to find someone to replace a Kent County Commissioner accused of sexually assaulting an underage girl.

Gary Rolls submitted his resignation from his District 4 seat Dec. 12. In a statement released that day, Rolls said he would use his time to prepare for trial to “prove my absolute and complete innocence.”

Rolls’ resignation officially takes effect Jan. 1. The county is looking for someone to finish out his term, which ends Dec. 31, 2014. District 4 represents Lowell, Cannon Township, Grattan Township, Oakfield Township and Vergennes Township. Eligible candidates must be from one of those communities.

The person elected to Rolls’ seat should expect to attend four meetings a month. The position is part time with an annual salary of $20,500 and benefits. The deadline to apply is Monday, Jan. 6. Those interested in applying should submit a resume and cover letter to:

Office of the Board of Commissioners

Grand Valley Metropolitan Council welcomes new members

Grand Valley Metropolitan Council welcomes new members

WALKER, Mich.—The Grand Valley Metropolitan Council has some new faces at its helm.

During the Dec. 5 meeting, Grandville Mayor Steve Maas, Kentwood Mayor Steve Keply and Walker Mayor Mark Huizenga officially joined the GVMC Board of Directors.  All three men were elected in November and selected by city members to serve on the panel.

Ada Township Supervisor George Haga and Sand Lake Village Trustee Roger Towsley also took the oath of office.  They represent the first two communities to join GVMC since 2007. The Board of Directors also recently approved accepting Lowell Township as a member. 

The GVMC is in charge of coordinating development and governmental affairs across municipalities.

Fallasburg Park expansion approved

Fallasburg Park expansion approved

LOWELL, Mich.- A natural treasure in Lowell  is about to grow.

Last week, the Kent County Board of Commissioners approved buying 20 acres to expand Fallasburg Park.  The Keystone Parcel in Vergennes Township will bring the park’s total size to 287 acres.

Nearly $200,000 in gifts and grants will go toward the property’s $208,000 price tag. The Lowell Area Community fund provided a lead grant of $100,000.

“The opportunity to preserve valuable parkland for current and future generations to enjoy was a compelling reason for the Lowell Area Community Fund to make the grant. This particular parcel fills in the ‘hole in the donut’ and makes a critical connection to the North Country National Scenic Trail,” said Marcia Rapp, Vice President, programming, for the Grand Rapids Community Foundation which manages the Lowell Area Community Fund.

UPDATE: City sets date for Riverwalk ribbon cutting

UPDATE: City sets date for Riverwalk ribbon cutting

UPDATE (11 a.m. Friday)-- The Lowell Chamber of Commerce says leaders will cut the ribbon on the newly expanded Riverwalk Friday, December 13.

The ribbon cutting ceremony will start at 5:15 p.m. at the Flat River Boat Launch.  The chamber is encouraging residents so stick around for the city's "Nite of Christmas Cheer."

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LOWELL, Mich.--  Lowell will likely be celebrating more than Christmas next month; the city hopes to cut the ribbon on its newly expanded Riverwalk in December.

City manager Mark Howe says crews are finishing up decking on the Riverwalk, which will now stretch all the way up to King and Lafayette.  Workers must also install benches and railing along the paved pathway.  The new light poles are already ready to go.