BENTON HARBOR, MICH.—The American Council of Engineering Companies of Michigan (ACEC/M) honored Wightman with an Engineering Merit Award for its work on the Cassopolis Transformation Project for the Village of Cassopolis. One of 10 awards given in the category statewide annually, the award was presented at ACEC/M’s annual Engineering and Surveying Excellence Awards Gala on March 19 in Plymouth, Mich.
The project began in 2018 when the Village of Cassopolis underwent a year-long process to update its master plan and community recreation plan. A grant secured through Michigan State University allowed the village, Cass County, and Cass County Economic Development Committee to revitalize the Broadway Street corridor from the north shore of Stone Lake to the historic county courthouse.
The placemaking project included a new municipal complex, downtown streetscape improvements, and a public access beach on Stone Lake.
Creating the new municipal complex required demolishing the village’s existing Department of Public Works (DPW) warehouse on Disbrow Street to make way for a nearly 19,000-square-foot building that now houses Village Hall staff, council chambers, the police department, and the DPW’s offices, equipment, warehouse, and maintenance needs.
The streetscape features new infrastructure, including water main and storm sewer, lane reconfiguration and bump- outs for traffic calming, pedestrian safety and walkability improvements, outdoor eating space for restaurants, and bike lanes. The goal was to create a calm downtown area where residents and visitors alike will slow down, make use of outdoor venues, and become more connected to the town and their fellow citizens.
By abandoning a portion of Disbrow Street, Wightman helped the village create a public access beach on Stone Lake within walking distance of its downtown. The new Disbrow Beach and Pathway includes an amphitheater, a large outdoor seating space, access/hookups for food trucks, a sand swim area, a pier with boat parking, and an ADA accessible boardwalk to Lakeshore Drive to South Broadway (M-62).
Work on the project was completed in May 2021.
“We are proud to have been part of this transformational project within the Village of Cassopolis,” said Matt Davis, President of Wightman. “From the community input in the visioning stages to the ribbon-cutting last year and now watching the community come out and enjoy these new spaces, we are grateful to have been involved.
“Receiving an Engineering Merit Award from the American Council of Engineering Companies of Michigan for the project is a testament to Wightman’s dedication to creating spaces that are all about people. Working with the equally dedicated and passionate municipalities, departments, and community stakeholders in Cassopolis made this project a success.”
Wightman’s Allegan location oversaw the project. Founded in 1946, Wightman is currently celebrating its 75th anniversary. The full-service consulting firm’s four main sectors of business are commercial, education, government, and utilities.