I hope you find the information on the Update
page informative and interesting. If you have specific questions
that are not answered on this page, please feel free to contact me
at 269-683-4700, ext. 3061 or send an e-mail. Check out our
Environmentally Speaking page
for updates related to the environment.
~ Joe Ray, Public Works Director
The Street Department
crew will tentatively begin the annual leaf collection program
on the third or fourth Monday of October, depending on the rate the
leaves are falling. Leaves are collected one ward at a time, rotating the program to begin in a different ward each year. Last year the program started in the
fourth ward therefore this year we will begin
with the first ward, and then move on to the second, third and
finally the fourth ward.
Please assist the Street Department crews by following these few simple rules:
Rake leaves to the back of the curb and not onto the pavement. Leaves raked into the street can cause flooding problems, create a safety hazard, and hampers snow removal operations (if we experience an early snowfall);
Leaves mixed with brush, limbs, trash, ashes, or other debris will not be picked up;
Leaves must be raked out in advance of the leaf vacuums. Leaves raked out afterwards will not be picked up;
Please move your vehicles to off-street locations when the crews are in your neighborhood, both for your benefit and your neighbor's. Cars parked in the street slow the collection process down significantly and force the crews to leave piles of leaves behind that can not be reached with the equipment;
Please do not cover the water meter castings in the boulevard area. This prevents meter readers from taking actual readings and requires them to estimate your water usage.
Crews will go around the City at least three complete times, weather permitting. Don't take any chances, rake out as many leaves as possible in advance of the first pick up, since the second and third times around may be halted or delayed by bad weather. Normally the crews work ten
hours per day, Monday thru Saturday. The goal is to complete the entire program prior to December 15th.
If early winter weather were to completely shut down the collection program and we are unable to resume it once the weather improves, we
may schedule a spring leaf collection program. If that were to be the case, an announcement in the Niles Daily Star and the South Bend Tribune would be released. Assume that there will be NO spring program unless there is an official announcement released by the Department
of Public Works. Should residents not be able to rake leaves out in time to be picked up by the City,
take leaves to the Southeast Berrien County Landfill, 1540 Mayflower
Rd. Buchanan, and disposed of in a convenient, easily accessible
to the Niles Skate Park
The NILES SKATE PARK is located on Front St. (US-31BR) along the St. Joseph River just north of downtown Niles and is open 7 days per week in the spring, summer and fall with the exception of inclement weather days. The park is for the use of skateboards and rollerblades only and there is no admittance fee. For the protection of users it is recommended that proper safety equipment, including helmet, wrist
guards, and knee and elbow pads be worn at all times.
Here are a few interesting facts about the park:
6,000 Cubic Yards of unsuitable material removed and replaced with suitable material (washed gravel and sand)
175 Cubic Yards of concrete flatwork, walls and walks
215 Cubic Yards of Shotcrete
520 Lineal Feet of Coping and Grind Rails Material
½ Mile of Caulked Expansion and Control Joints
11.3 Tons of Reinforcing Steel
Niles resident Woody Woelfel reported earlier this year that he has skated at the skate park every day that it has been open since opening day
in April 2003.
Road Work Ahead!
The spring, summer
and fall months are the times when most road construction projects
are completed, placing construction workers at risk every day.
When traveling through construction or Maintenance zones:
PLEASE slow down and remain
alert. You may save a life.
Before You Proceed.
Before you start a project around the house or business, please keep in mind that you may need to secure a permit from the Department of Public Works for a variety of activities, many of which cost absolutely NOTHING. That's right, FREE.
The DPW issues permits for:
Right-of-Way Permit - For performing work in the street right-of-way (FREE! but certain rules do apply). Please keep in mind that if the property is along a state highway, you must secure a permit from the Michigan Department of Transportation Service Center in Coloma.
Public Sidewalk Construction (For YOUR PROTECTION, and it's FREE!) - So now you know, in order to construct new or replace existing public sidewalk, you must get a permit. There's no hassle and we inspect the work for YOUR protection.
Drive Approach (FREE if along a city street!) - To construct a new drive approach or make changes to the existing approach within the street right-of-way, you must get a permit. No hassle and we offer free advice too! If your driveway is on a state highway in the City of Niles (US-12BR; US-31BR; M-51; M-60) you must secure a permit from the Michigan Department of Transportation Service Center in Coloma. We will gladly help put you in touch with the appropriate MDOT official.
Tree Trimming/Removal of City-owned Trees (FREE!) But keep in mind once again, if a tree is on a state highway it requires a permit from the Michigan Department of Transportation Service Center in Coloma.
Refuse Truck Inspections (Issued to refuse hauling firms) - Refuse trucks are inspected and permitted annually to operate inside the City of Niles and a fee is charged to the refuse hauling firms.
Sanitary Sewer Connections - For connection to city sewer. A permit fee is charged - please call for the amount (varies). If the connection is along a state highway, a permit from Michigan Department of Transportation Service Center in Coloma is required.
FOR YOUR PROTECTION, anytime you plan to excavate on public or private property, you MUST call MISS DIG at 811 a minimum of 72 hours prior to starting any excavation work. You simply call and give the address where the work is to be done and provide other information relative to the project. Getting underground utilities located and marked before you dig protects both you and the utility companies and the service is FREE.
Report Water Pollution Immediately!
Michigan's waters and wildlife by reporting any type of water
pollution to the Pollution Emergency Alerting System.
of pollutants to report that need to be cleaned up: leaking
automobiles, concrete dumped on the street, paint poured down a
drain or any leaky septic systems. When making a report it is
important to include the following information in your report:
Where the incident occurred
Directions to the site
Date and time of incident
What was deposited
Was the substance deposited
in the street, alley, river, lake?
Give as much descriptive
information as possible about the substance that was deposited;
color, odor, amount, etc.
If you know or suspect who
was responsible for the pollution, dumping or discharge you are
reporting, please provide as much information as possible, so
that they may be contacted.
Important Information to Know:
Berrien County Drain
701 Main St.
St. Joseph, MI 49085
(269) 983-7111 ext. 8261
Cass County Drain
120 N. Broadway
Cassopolis, MI 49031
To Report Other Problems
An environmental pollution emergency (defined by the critical
materials register) includes tanker accidents, pipeline breaks,
releases of hazardous substances, oil, salt, or other polluting
materials. If this occurs call the PEAS Hotline at
1-800-292-4706. For extreme emergencies such as spills
involving fires or explosion hazards, call 911.
Silverbrook Cemetery. . . Looking Good
Cemetery is looking much nicer these days, thanks to the efforts of
the volunteer Friends of Silverbrook Cemetery group and
cemetery employees Neal Mikel and Morgan Frend.
Pictured is the main office building at the Cherry Street
entrance. The building has been recently repainted and
refurbished. For more information on Silverbrook Cemetery go
to the Silverbrook
Cemetery page on this website or to learn how you can become a
part of the Friends of Silverbrook Cemetery, go to their website at www.friendsofsilverbrook.org.
Visit Silverbrook Cemetery today. But,
please remember that winter decorations, artificial wreaths and
flowers are only allowed between November 15th and March 30th.
If not removed, all winter decorations are discarded by cemetery
staff on April 1st. Also, no pets are ever allowed in the
cemetery. Please show your respect by abiding by this
rule. A complete set of cemetery rules are available in the
cemetery office or on the Silverbrook
Cemetery page of this website.
Your Patience and Understanding is Needed -
tight budget situation caused by lower than anticipated gas and
weight tax revenues and reduced state revenue sharing funds, both of
which are needed to support City of Niles street maintenance
operations, has resulted in a reduction of three full-time Street
Department positions or 20% of the workforce over the past 5
years. The loss of these jobs will likely have an adverse
effect on snow removal operations this winter, particularly when we
get hit with a heavy snowfall. Through the years the Street
Department has earned for themselves a very good reputation for
their prompt, efficient snow removal operations, and the workers
will work just as hard as they always have to clear snow from
streets, alleys and parking lots, but there just aren't as many of
them these days.
asking for your PATIENCE and UNDERSTANDING. We'll get to your
street as quickly as we possibly can, but if we get a heavy late
evening or early morning snowfall, there is a strong likelihood that
you could be driving your car through some heavy snow before we are
able to get to your street.
Did You Know?. . .
years ago the Niles City Council was astonished by the amount of
work that was being done at Jerry Tyler Memorial Airport by one of
its unpaid volunteers. Some newer council members were truly
amazed that this volunteer had worked so hard and put forth so many
hours for not just years, but for several decades, and he continued
to do so.
L. Litty was that volunteer. Although he had to be
convinced to take a part-time paid position; at 85 years young at
that time, he
continued to also provide many, many hours of volunteer work at our
community airport. No wonder the Niles City Council renamed
the main structure at the airport as the Fred L. Litty
Administration Building in his honor. Our hats go off to a
true community volunteer.
Please Don't Place Yard Waste in the Street
around our city one can see numerous locations where residents clean
their yards, driveways and sidewalks and then blow, sweep or rake
the yard waste into the street. The yard waste normally consists of
grass, leaves, and dirt, but can also include trash such as glass
and paper. This is a violation of city ordinance and is therefore
illegal. Many times this material ends up traveling through the
storm drains to the
St. Joseph River
, or it could end up in front of a neighbor’s house which becomes
a problem for the neighbor, or it can even become a traffic hazard.
Department provides a fall leaf collection program and in the fall
of 2006 five complete trips around the city were completed. The city
does not currently provide a grass or dirt collection program,
however, the Southeast Berrien County Landfill on
offers a yard waste disposal site which is very easy to access and
there is no cost.
mulch is available year round to area residents at no charge. The
wood mulch is the product of the brush chipping program. Ideal for
planting areas, walk paths, etc., the mulch may be picked up at the
Street Department garage, 1815 Eagle St., located directly behind
Ring Lardner Middle School. Hours are 8:00 am to 3:00 pm Monday thru
Friday. The Street Department will not normally load nor provide
tools to load the mulch, however, in April of each year, a Saturday
morning is set aside for the Street Department to load mulch, at no
charge, into trucks and trailers. Details are released to area
newspapers and local radio stations announcing the service and date.
The picture at the right shows a street department vehicle removing
mulch from a large pile.
The City of Niles reserves the right to limit quantities.
Residents are reminded that State Law requires that ALL LOADS MUST
BE COVERED, therefore loads must be covered before leaving the
Street Department property.
Snow Removal Information
With cold winter weather soon to be upon us,
now is a good time to offer a few tips that will help you and others
get safely through another winter. The City of Niles Street
Department has an outstanding snow removal team numbering 12
individuals, but they need your help to accomplish their goal of
removing snow from 70 miles of streets, 3 miles of alleys, and 7
municipal parking lots as quickly and safely as possible.
Here are a few tips for winter safety:
To assist snow removal crews, please try to
park your vehicles in off street locations during snow or ice
events. Weaving in and out of traffic is not only very dangerous
for the plow operators, but hampers their ability to clear the
Do not plow, shovel or blow snow into the
street. This is obviously contrary to snow removal plans and is
against the law.
Do not plow, shovel or blow snow onto a
public sidewalk. The sidewalk is to be kept free of snow and ice
and a clear passageway is needed for pedestrians. Piling snow on
the walk may force a pedestrian to walk into the street which can
result in an injury or death.
If a fire hydrant is located near your home,
please keep snow shoveled away from it. Keeping the hydrant
visible and accessible to firefighters will improve their ability
to respond to a fire in your neighborhood.
If you have an elderly or disabled person
living next door, try to assist them with snow removal. Emergency
crews (fire, police and ambulance) will have a much easier time in
responding to an emergency medical call if the sidewalk and drive
are kept clear of snow and ice. It can make a difference between
life and death.
Keep snow piles low enough so they do not
create a site distance or viewing problem for motorists.
Area Traffic Count Map
Shown below is an average daily
traffic count map for state highways in the vicinity of
Niles, as provided by the Michigan Department of Transportation.
These counts are intended to show an average 24 hour total traffic
Here to see the Niles Area Traffic Count Map
Tree and Stump Removal
The City of Niles removes dead, dying and
dangerous trees from street rights-of-way and other city-owned
properties in the fall/winter of each year. A survey of the entire
City is performed in August and September and trees that are to be
removed are marked with red paint and a record made of the type of
tree, location, and size. The list is compiled, specifications
written, and the work is then put out for bid. The successful bidder
is then required to remove the trees within a specified period of
time, with completion normally by late winter.
In the spring of each year, the stumps are
removed by the stump grinding method. The stump grindings are
removed and the area restored with topsoil and grass seed.
Calcium Chloride "Bites the Dust"
Each spring the City of Niles will
be applying a liquid calcium chloride dust control material on all
five miles of unpaved roads in the City. The application helps keep
the dust down over the majority of the spring and summer months.
With the application normally completed by late May, depending on
weather conditions, the material remains effective for approximately
and Recreation Briefs
A 16,000 square foot concrete skate park is
located on the west side of Front St. just north of Howard St.. The
park is open to the public in the spring, summer and fall and there
is NO CHARGE to use it. It is recommended that protective equipment
There are four large play structures located in
various parks in the city, ranging in cost from $40,000 to $75,000
each when they were constructed. The structures are located at
Riverfront Park (behind Wonderland Cinema), Eastside Park (17th and
Sycamore), Southside Park (15th and Silverbrook), and Clevenger Park
(Fifth and Cherry). Give your kids a treat and take them to one of
these nice parks for a fun time.
Park Maintenance Supervisor
Picnic facilities are located at most city
parks, with shelters available at Riverfront Park near the dam on
Bond St., Riverfront Park south of Broadway at the boat ramp
area, Plym Park, Island Park, Southside Park, Clevenger Park, and
Eastside Park. Shelters are available on a first come, first serve
The City completed renovations to the eight
Plym Park tennis courts in 2004 at a cost of over $80,000. The
courts are available for use at NO CHARGE.
There are three boat ramps available to boating
enthusiasts wishing to meander up and down the St. Joseph River.
Ramps are located on Bond St. just south (upstream) of the dam,
Riverfront Park south of Broadway, and Marmont St. near the
wastewater treatment plant. The City of Niles encourages you to come
out and enjoy all that your city parks have to offer you and your
Animal Ordinance Requires Owner's
Control and Responsibility
Owners of animals in the City should be aware
of an animal ordinance that requires them to keep their animal on
a leash not exceeding 6' in length and also requires them to clean
up and properly dispose of animal waste, whether on public or
private property. Those people guilty of not having their animal on
a 6' (or less) leash and/or failure to clean up after their animal
are subject to prosecution. One area of concern where animal waste
has been a serious problem is along the riverfront trail, where
animal owners, mostly dog owners, have neglected to clean up after
their dogs, leaving an unpleasant mess behind. "Mutt Mitts", which
are plastic glove bags, are sometimes available along the trail for
use in disposing of the waste; however, animal owners should always
be prepared to clean up the mess, with or without "Mutt Mitts". Pet
waste can be a major source of bacteria and excess nutrients in
local waters. When walking your pet, remember to pick up the waste
and dispose of it properly. Flushing pet waste is the best disposal
method. Leaving pet waste on the ground increases public health
risks by allowing harmful bacteria and nutrients to wash into the
storm drain and eventually into local water bodies.
Planting on City Property
Until several years ago the City of Niles
offered a free annual tree planting program, for planting of trees
in the boulevard areas throughout the city. Because of the cost of
the program and the high number of trees that were not cared for and
eventually died, the program was forced to be discontinued.
Throughout the year the Department of Public Works receives requests
from property owners, seeking permission to plant a tree in the
street right-of-way. The DPW will issue permission to property
owners to plant a tree, provided a few simple rules are followed:
The property owner must call MISS DIG to make
sure the proposed tree location does not conflict with underground
utilities in the area.
The property owner will plant only trees
which are permitted by the DPW (Maple, Linden, Locust, Redbud,
etc. to name a few) and will not plant those which are prohibited
(Pine, Spruce, Cedar, etc. to name a few).
The property owner agrees to water the tree,
as needed, at their expense.
While the City is interested in allowing a
tree to be planted at the property owner's preferred location, the
City of Niles reserves the right to make the final decision on the