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Published: Thursday, 7/4/2002

Luna Pier council bikes to residents

BY LARRY P. VELLEQUETTE
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Luna Pier mayor Jerry Welton, left, discusses improvements with council at Elmhurst and Erie streets. Luna Pier mayor Jerry Welton, left, discusses improvements with council at Elmhurst and Erie streets.
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LUNA PIER - Only in a small town like Luna Pier could six bicycles rack up so much political mileage.

The five members of Luna Pier City Council and city administrator Tom Treece took to the streets of their city last week for what they dubbed a ``Council on Wheels” meeting.

As they usually do twice a month, council members met last Thursday at 7:30 p.m. in their meeting chambers on the second floor of city hall, said the Pledge of Allegiance, called the roll, and approved the minutes from the previous meeting.

From that point on, the meeting was anything but usual.

Mayor Jerry Welton temporarily adjourned the meeting while members went downstairs, climbed onto their respective bicycles, and began to pedal to the places they planned to talk about in the coming weeks.

The idea for the ride-about belonged to council member Chris Heid and was enthusiastically adopted by his fellow councilmen.

“The mayor had given us all a list of the streets that [the city administration] wanted to repair, and he told us all to go look at them. So I had my kids throw on their [inline skates] and I hopped on my bike and off we went,” Mr. Heid said. “As I moved around, people would come out of their houses and ask me what I was doing, and when I told them, they thought it was great. And I had a ball.”

Mr. Heid said the relaxed atmosphere of the ride and the fresh air both informed councilmen of the shape of their city and kept them at ease.

“When you're riding the bike, you can feel the bumps, and you can see the chuckholes a lot better than when you're just driving over them in a car,” Mr. Heid said. “It was nice for us council members out talking to one another in a relaxed atmosphere.

And the people were really ecstatic about having us out riding around looking at their streets.”

The entire exercise lasted about two hours, and included stops for refreshments, including ice cream.



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