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Twp. community park projects move forward

August 11, 2010 - Brandon Twp.- The economy is down, but the park is getting a lift.

The township board voted 4-3 at the Aug. 9 budget workshop meeting to install a sledding hill lift station at the community park, 1414 N. Hadley Road. The project is the last step in completing a grant the township received in 2008 for park development. Supervisor Kathy Thurman, Clerk Jeannie McCreery and Trustees Bob DeWitt and Tom Stowell voted yes. Treasurer Terry Beltramo and Trustees Cheryl Gault and David King voted no.

"I am pleased that it passed, because I wouldn't want the township to be in a position of not receiving grants in the future, if we were unable to complete this one," said Thurman.

The board has been divided over completing the grant because of budget concerns. While the township receives $75,000 from the Department of Natural Resources for the Land and Water Conservation Fund grant, officials are required to match the funds. The township has already used grant money, as well as money from the existing park fund, to build a playground at the park.

"I did not vote no because I am against the development of the park, I voted no because I am trying to protect our budget," said Gault. "The remainder of the project, is contributing to an approximately $28,000 cost overrun from the original approval and our current budget is very tight. I worry this will negatively impact our cash flow."

The "magic carpet ride" lift station, which Parks and Recreation Director Fred Waybrant said is one of the primary reasons that the township was approved for the grant, has been on hold while the township struggles to balance the budget and find matching funds.

Last month, the board voted to request a 1-year extension from the DNR for completing the grant, but officials were told they could only request six months.

In Monday's motion, the board approved accept a contract from Star Lifts USA for the lift station, as well as pathway and lift installation for a total expenditure of $81,493, contingent upon DNR

Susan covers Brandon Township and Ortonville
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