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No park grant; sled lift opens Jan. 29

January 19, 2011 - Brandon Twp.- The township board is sticking with a decision they made nearly two years ago to not seek any grants requiring matching funds.

Board members agreed at their Jan. 18 meeting they would not apply for a grant that would have been used to decrease the township's liability exposure on the sledding hill at the township community park, 1414 Hadley Road.

Township Supervisor Kathy Thurman met with Terry VanDoren, a risk control consultant from the Michigan Municipal Risk Management Authority, at the park on Dec. 27 to discuss improvements to decrease liability. VanDoren suggested a Risk Avoidance grant offered through MMRMA. The grant would not exceed a cost of $2,000 to make improvements including signs, fencing and installation of bushes.

"If we reduce risk, we're less likely to have a claim," Thurman said during the board meeting.

"We should not go after any matching grants we can't afford," said Treasurer Terry Beltramo.

A sledding hill lift station that was installed at the park in November is expected to be ready for use Jan. 29. The conveyor belt was the final step in completing a Land and Water Conservation Fund grant the township received in 2008 for park development. Completion of the grant has been controversial, because township officials had to match the $75,000 in funds they received from the Department of Natural Resources, even as the township struggles with budget concerns.

The total cost of the sledding hill lift station was $77,343,02. Recreation Director Fred Waybrant believes the conveyor belt will be heavily used by the community once it is open. An attendant will be hired to run the conveyor belt during hours of operation, planned for 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.

Susan covers Brandon Township and Ortonville
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