The Hillsdale City Council has received more than six applications for the newly formed Homelessness Task Force, which will soon begin addressing homelessness in the city.
Seven people have submitted applications to serve on the board, and Mayor Adam Stockford said two dozen more residents expressed interest in applying.
“I don’t think it’d be wise to set a total member number at this point until we see what we’re really looking at here,” he said to encourage the delay of creating the board until more people submit applications. “We’ve got some really good people.”
Stockford said Hillsdale Police Chief Scott Hephner will serve on the task force, along with whichever citizens are selected.
Stockford said the committee’s first task should be to define a mission statement and determine the scope of the homeless problem in Hillsdale.
“The first thing is getting some actual accurate information to know what we’re looking at here,” Stockford said.
The board will also seek to determine if the homeless population is native to Hillsdale or from other areas. Councilmembers and law enforcement officers will help lead the group toward solutions for the city.
“The fact that law enforcement is going to be involved in the conversation is very encouraging,” Stockford said.
The council will receive an update from Stockford at the March 16 meeting about additional applications submitted.
Later in the meeting, the council discussed a $1 million grant awarded to the Hillsdale Municipal Airport.
The Michigan Association of Airport Executives Conference met in February with representatives from the Federal Aviation Administration and Michigan Department of Transportation. The groups awarded Hillsdale for “outstanding promotion of the airport.”
“Hillsdale received a supplemental grant of over $1 million to complete the phase two parallel taxiway project,” City Manager David Mackie said.
The city will be responsible for about $60,000 to fully fund the project. This is just 5% of the total cost for the taxiway.
The airport already has a taxiway, which connects to the west end of the runway. The new taxiway will connect to the east end so that planes don’t have to travel across the runway to get to the opposite side.
Hillsdale Municipal Airport Manager Ginger Moore helped make the grant possible.
“We wouldn’t be talking about this grant if it wasn’t for Ginger’s hard work,” Mackie said. “In networking with the Federal Aviation Administration represent for Michigan, she really had Hillsdale at heart.”
Moore met with several representatives from the different agencies, showed them the airport, and followed up with proof of the work being done by the airport.
“We were singled out by many, many airports that wanted this money,” she said. “We were very lucky.”