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First recreation DNR grant application in six years



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April 02, 2014 - Brandon Twp.- For the first time since 2008, the township board has approved application for a DNR recreation grant.

Recreation Director Fred Waybrant applied for the Department of Natural Resources Recreation Passport Grant this past week, hoping to receive $45,000 in funds, which the township would match with a $25,000 grant already received from the Enbridge Stewardship Program, as well as in-kind service donations in the amount of $7,200 from Northern Pines Landscaping. The grants and donation, combined totalling $77,200, would be used to install two sand volleyball courts, an asphalt basketball court, and a pathway connecting the courts to existing playground equipment at the township community park, 1414 Hadley Road.

"I'm excited to see us moving forward with park development without having to use township funds," said Supervisor Kathy Thurman. "Recreation is holding its own."

The township board last received a grant for recreation in 2009 (with the application submitted in 2008), for the tree library at the park. Due to the economic recession, the board decided to freeze any further grant applications that would require matching funds from the township.

While the DNR Recreation Passport Grant requires 25 percent matching funds, the township will be able to use the Enbridge Stewardship Program grant they received last year, as well as the in-kind service donation from Northern Pines to meet the obligation.

The Enbridge grant was offered after the multi-billion dollar petroleum pipeline company replaced more than 200 miles of the Line 6B oil pipeline last year, six miles of which traverses the township. Construction of a 35-foot high pipeline pump station is also planned in the township this year.

The board considered using the Enbridge grant funds for construction of a restroom at the park, but decided against this plan.

While Waybrant said restrooms are needed at the park and he currently spends $5,000 to $6,000 per year from the recreation budget for portajohns, he favored using the grant funds for volleyball courts to generate revenue for recreation.

The board will learn in October whether they are approved for the DNR grant. If they are denied the grant, Waybrant said the Enbridge funds can be set aside for use as matching funds for a future grant, or the township could scale down the cur-rent planned project or change it to install a bathroom unit.

The volleyball courts and basketball court would be the first new development in phase II of the park. Other plans in this phase include baseball fields, but Waybrant acknowledges that part of the plan is perhaps four or five years down the road. In the meantime, the land where the baseball fields will eventually go could be used for a disc golf course.

The recreation master plan will be rewritten in 2015, and will incorporate last summer's purchase by the township of a little more than 8 acres of foreclosed vacant property on Hadley Road, across from the park. That property could be used for lacrosse fields, for which Waybrant said there is a "big demand" from local clubs and residents, or possibly for more soccer fields, more baseball fields, or even cricket.

Participation in recreation programs is up, with only a few spots left for soccer, and registration for baseball currently underway.

The recreation department is planning a garage sale/arts and crafts fundraiser for June 28-29 at the park, 1414 N. Hadley Road, with the intent of raising funds for a gazebo at the park. Vendor spots for the community yard sale can be purchased for $15 per 10x10 space. For more information, call 248-627-4640.

"We're rockin' and rollin' around here," said Waybrant. "We're gonna have some fun."

Susan covers Brandon Township and Ortonville
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