Ortonville – If Mill Street could tell the history of Ortonville it might say the first roads in Brandon Township were Indian trails, of which settlers found their way into the area in the 1830s.
The road leading to and from the grist mill, established by Amos Orton in 1856, Mill Street became the artery of commerce that pumped life’s blood into the village.
More than 146 years after the dirt trail was established, village officials are about to cap another layer of history onto Mill Street by repaving it from Church Street to M-15.
‘We are going to mill it down and cap four inches of asphalt over it,? said Village Manager Paul Zelenak.
‘We are focusing on this part (of the village streets) because it’s the worst area.?
‘Repaving Mill will not only improve the look but the safety of the downtown area,? Zelenak said.
Core samples done recently suggest the first layer of construction beyond the original dirt layer is of concrete.
Tim Byrnes, Assistant Manager of Construction Testing Service, Inc., who took the sample said that the concrete indicates the street is quite old, comparing it to Davison and Van Dyke Roads, which were the first concrete roads done in the state.
‘That is a busy road and it is old,? said Byrnes. ‘So too is the asphalt over concrete.?
While the street has been in need of repair for the past several years the village DPW has been maintaining it with hot and cold asphalt patching, to save the already budgeted street repair funds.
The funds were being guarded in the event the village would have to pay to rebuild the South Street Bridge.
However, a windfall decision by the state, in April 2003, to supplement the bridge repairs with Critical Bridge Funding dollars, made it possible to recap Mill with the $90,000 budgeted for repairs.
‘Now that we have commitment for the South St. bridge it has freed up our dollars for paving this year,? said Zelenak. Zelenak said to replace all of Mill Street would cost nearly $100,000. Of that an estimated $75,000 will go toward paving, the remainder will cover engineering costs, striping, and parking allocations.
On May 9, the Groveland Township board voted to allocate $17,000 of their Community Block Grant Development funds toward the paving project.
The project will begin this summer, however, Zelenak said the contract just went out for bid and will not be opened until June 19 and council will award it on June 23.
While Zelenak said the repaving should not cause too much inconvenience to area businesses, business owners will be notified when the paving is scheduled.
‘It will be a minor inconvenience but not a complete shut down,? said Zelenak.
‘Everybody realizes it’s an improvement.?
Photo by Bob Flath