03-26-2020 Coloma holds City Council meeting in parking lot; COVID-19 outbreak prompts more governme

SOCIAL DISTANCING… The Coloma City Council held their March 23 meeting in the parking lot behind City Hall to maintain a distance of six feet to help prevent the spread of coronavirus. From the left: (Standing) Steve Lowder of Pride Care Ambulance Service, Commissioners Jason Hicks, Commissioner Kent Churchill; (in vehicles) Commissioner Fred Reeves and Commissioner Julie Smith. (Photo courtesy of Marsha Hammond)

Coloma holds City Council meeting in parking lot

Coloma postpones Vietnam Veteran’s celebration; A message from Mayor Polashak

By Nancy Albright

It was business as usual at the March 23 meeting of the Coloma City Council, with one notable exception—the meeting was held in the parking lot behind City Hall.

April meetings have been canceled due to the COVID-19 outbreak, but the 2020–2021 city budget is on the table for April 1. “The budget must be passed,” said Mayor Pro Tem Marsha Hammond, “but we need to keep our commissioners, city workers, and the public safe, so we’re meeting outside. The city supports and encourages social distancing and it’s important that we follow public health recommendations and stay six feet apart.”

The council put the budget to bed and made a motion to override the Hedley Amendment for the 2020 tax season. Commissioners also approved seasonal Public Works employees Jacob Hammond, Conner Bitner, Hunter Crist, and Nick Eastman.

The city decided to close Randall Park to keep residents safe. “We hated to do it,” said Hammond, “but there is no way we can monitor social distancing in an outdoor space and it’s a matter of public safety.”

The doors of City Hall are locked, but staff are taking all precautions and working onsite. Residents can still drop their bills through the mail slot and they will be processed, and anyone with a question can call for help. “We are here to help,” emphasized Hammond.

Hammond also said that she is happy to see the community coming together to help during the crisis. “I saw it after 9/11 and I see it now. It’s great to see people responding to each other in such a positive way.”

Local restaurants offering takeout service

Many local restaurants are offering takeout, including Soulard’s Café. Soulard’s is offering curbside service during normal business hours, Tuesday–Friday, 8:00 a.m.–7:00 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday 9:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m. Call (269) 944-9494 for custom orders and follow Soulard’s on Facebook, as hours may change. The owners ask that customers to stay healthy and safe.

Jonathan Romero, owner of El Asadero, (269) 202-6015, and Coloma’s new ice cream shop, Las Mangonadas, (269) 202-6074, is also offering carryout service. El Asadero is open from 11:00 a.m.–8:00 p.m. and Las Mangonadas is open from 4:00–8:00 p.m. Call ahead to order from El Asadero.

Many other restaurants in town, including Easy Street and Subway, are also offering pickup service. If you are planning on ordering takeout, please call ahead.

Message from Mayor Polashak

Coloma Mayor Jim Polashak is on the mend after a string of health issues including lung surgery. “I’m up and about and breathing well,” said Polashak. The Mayor and his wife are staying home, and friends and family are helping by delivering needed medications, groceries, and supplies. He especially likes the sandwich deliveries from Hot Spot.

“The community, businesses, the city council, Public Works, and especially [Mayor Pro Tem] Marsha Hammond have kept me well-informed and have been just wonderful to me from start