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State recognizes local park work



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Addison Township Supervisor Bruce Pearson, along with the State of Michigan, recognized Addison Twp. resident Charlie Peringian for all of his work on the Watershed Preserve. Photo by Andrew Moser (click for larger version)
August 04, 2010 - For his work with preserving nature, Addison Township resident Charlie Peringian was recently recgonized.

At the July 19 Addison Township Board meeting, Peringian received a certificate of appreciation from the board and by the state of Michigan for creating the Watershed Preserve and for being a founding member of the Park Committee.

"I think what I did should have been expected of me to do," said Peringian. "When you live in a community, you should try to make your community as good as possible. I don't think that I went out of my way and I don't think I did anything extra special to deserve to be patted on the back. I think that this stuff needed to be done."

Peringian originally got the idea to create a park back in 1990 during a big development boom.

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There was 250 acres of natural land for sale, and some developers bought it and it was zoned 10 acres agriculture because there were wetlands and it was called a fragile watercourse district because of all the wetlands Peringian said.

He added that developers wanted to put 60-100 houses and a golf course on the 250 acres where the Watershed Preserve currently sits. That didn't sit well with him, so he went through the application process to try and turn it into a park.

However, he was not able to get any sponsorship from the Township because they were dealing with some legal issues with the contractors.

"I got a letter saying that since a government agency wasn't willing to sponsor it, the application could not go any farther.

After Robert Koski was elected, Persingion went and introduced himself and told him what he was trying to do.

"He (Koski) thought it was a good idea and he said yes, we should proceed forward," Persingion said. "Then what he did was form a park committee and call a truce with the developers."

Peringian added that the Township and County also told them (the developers) we don't want to break the zoning because of the wetlands.

"So the developers called a truce and we formed this park committee and we formed a master plan. In 1995, we reapplied again, and I think because our master plan wasn't just right, it took a couple of years to get it."

It was 1997 when they finally got the grant from the state trust fund.

"The park does a lot of good things…it keeps our drinking clean, it's a place for animals, it's open space and if that got developed, it could have triggered some more development in the area," Peringian explained. "I think that people would agree that Leonard would look at little bit more like suburbia today than Leonard itself."

In the master plan for the Watershed Preserve, the Township wrote that "it is pretty much to stay that way for perpetuity, which means always forever," Peringian noted.

"So here we are in Oakland County and we have a wilderness preserve, and that is pretty darn good," he said.

He was also honored for his donation of land that helped cleared the way for the township to place a cell phone tower in the Watershed Preserve.

"For the last decade they had been trying to put up a cell tower and at the last couple of discussions, members of the community mentioned putting it in the park," Peringian said.

The only problem with putting in the park was that when they got the grant for the park from the state of Michigan, it was written that they would be capitalizing off of the money they received.

Through the process of mitigation, where you have to add on to the park and replace what you are using, Persingion was able to donate a 110 by 110 foot piece of land that was on his property for the 100 by 100 foot space Verizon needed to put up a cell tower.

"At the current entrance of the Watershed, we have maps and stuff that ranks the importance of the ecology of each area of the park…and the parking lot area was a pretty low priority of the park," Peringian said.

"So I donated off of Howard Lake off of the northern edge of my property, and if you look again at the value of the land in the area and then look at the value of the parking lot, the value on Howard Lake is a three and the parking lot is a zero."

The state then approved the mitigation, but only if the money generated from the cell phone tower would be used for the parks, which would make the parks self-supporting.

"I think that it is really good that the parks are now self-supporting," said Peringian. "Now they have their own money coming in and no one can say that we have these parks here and they are costing us money."

that was on his property for the 100 by 100 foot space Verizon needed to put up a cell tower.

"At the current entrance of the Watershed, we have maps and stuff that ranks the importance of the ecology of each area of the park…and the parking lot area was a pretty low priority of the park," Peringian said.

"So I donated off of Howard Lake off of the northern edge of my property, and if you look again at the value of the land in the area and then look at the value of the parking lot, the value on Howard Lake is a three and the parking lot is a zero."

The state then approved the mitigation, but only if the money generated from the cell phone tower would be used for the parks, which would make the parks self-supporting.

"I think that it is really good that the parks are now self-supporting," said Peringian. "Now they have their own money coming in and no one can say that we have these parks here and they are costing us money."

Andrew Moser is a staff writer for the Oxford Leader.
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