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10-year plan for township

Independence Township Supervisor Pat Kittle talks about improvements set to be made to the Spray Park in Clintonwood Park. Photo by Andrea Beaudoin (click for larger version)
July 02, 2014 - Clintonwood Park off Clarkston Road is first up in a 10-year plan for improvements to Independence Township.

Independence Township budgeted $210,000 for the park in 2015, which includes $40,000 in grants and donations, to replace playground equipment and multi-purpose pads, and build a new baseball shelter in 2015.

Independence Township Supervisor Pat Kittle said tennis courts in the northern area of the park are in disrepair and need to be replaced with a smoother surface. He said the area may be used for sports like Pickleball, a popular sport with local seniors.

"Pickleball is really the up and coming sport so we want to add an area for that," he said.

Visitors can also do a variety of other activities once the slab is replaced.

Independence Township Budget Analyst Rick Yaeger presented the 10-year Capital Improvement Plan to township officials during a Board of Trustees meeting on June 24.

The plan calls for improvements to the township from 2015 through 2025. The township will spend just over $2 million on projects also including sewer, cemetery and safety path projects.

Improvements will be paid for from the township's fund balance, a saving account. Each year the township plans to add $120,000 to the fund.

Parks, Recreation and Seniors Projects spending for projects includes $45,000 in 2014, $298,500 in 2015, and $504,000 in 2016.

Improvements to be made in 2016 include renovating a camp building in Clintonwood. The popular Spray Park will also be replaced and a spray park pavilion will be added to the spray park area.

In 2003 a group worked together to raise funds for the 3,200-square-foot Spray Park to dedicate to Renee Przybylski,a local resident who passed away of leukemia at the age of 23. The initial cost of the Spray Park was $270,000, the Spray Park Committee raised $180,000 and another $90,000 in donations and services from local businesses.

The Spray Park, now 13 years old, is in disrepair and needs to be replaced. Kittle said the Park will cost $350,000 to replace.

Clintonwood Park is not the only park area in the township slated for improvements.

McCord Community Garden Projects include spending $100,000 to improve parking areas and install better signage to better identify the garden. Managed by the Independence Township Parks, Recreation and Seniors, the 36-acre property was donated to the township by the McCord family in 1998. Clarkston Community Garden is located on the property.

Kittle said thanks to cooperation with the Road Commission for Oakland County a road in the park was resurfaced with limestone. In 2016, the park trails at Clintonwood will be paved in limestone.

Bay Court Park on Andersonville Road is also slated for $200,000 in improvements in 2017. Improvements to Brady Lodge, a building located in Bay Court Park, have already been underway and had previously been scheduled for several phases of repairs.

However, the newly discovered costs to renovate Brady Lodge may hinder the project. First scheduled to be restored in three phases, the lodge has had some work done but Kittle said officials have just learned remediating the building of lead and asbestos will cost more than expected.

"We have $187,000 into the building now and do we really want to add at least another $100,000 just to use the building for a farmers' or flower market," he said. "We may just end up stabilizing the building and only using it for maintenance."

Built in 1921, the Brady Lodge was built by George Brady was later donated to the Boy Scouts of America.

In 2012, Ron Campbell a preserve architect with Oakland County estimated restoring the building would cost $250,000-$260,000.

Other improvements at Bay Court include revamping several bathrooms and heating a shed at the park.

Sashabaw Plains Park, located off Maybee road will receive $100,000 in improvements in 2017. Improvements include fixing up bathrooms and upgrading parking at the Plains Park. Both Baycourt and Clintonwood will receive new vehicles in 2015.

Staff writer covering Independence Township and Clarkston area.
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