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No interest in trail maintenance proposal

February 16, 2011 - For once, Oxford Township and Village agree – neither municipality wants to independently maintain its section of the 14.6-mile Polly Ann Trail.

"Personally, I don't think it's a good idea," said township Trustee Buck Cryderman.

By a vote of 5-2, the township board last week failed a motion directing Trustee Sue Bellairs to investigate outsourcing the maintenance work for the township's 4-mile stretch of trail.

A few weeks ago, the Oxford Village Council indicated that it too had no interest in taking over the maintenance of its trail section.

Officials have been discussing a cost-cutting proposal from Alice Young and JoAnn Van Tassel, two Orion officials who serve on the Polly Ann Trail Management Council, which called for each of the five communities that fund and govern the 14.6-mile trail to maintain their section of it.

Addison Township has 5 miles of the trail, Oxford Township has 4 miles, Orion Township 3.4 miles, Leonard Village 1.3 miles and Oxford Village 0.90 miles.

Currently, Orion and Leonard maintain their own sections of the non-motorized trail, while Oxford Township and Village along with Addison Township rely on the trail manager, adopt-a-trail volunteers and court-ordered laborers to keep up their sections.

Bellairs noted Orion's proposal isn't asking the township to increase its financial contribution to the trail council. Just the opposite, it's seeking to reduce each community's contribution by having them do their own maintenance.

"It would be taken from the money that we're already paying," she explained. "It would reduce our Polly Ann Trail donation."

Cryderman noted, "There certainly are no guarantees on that."

Because there are no hard numbers at this point, it's not known whether or not there would be an actual savings to the individual communities.

"We don't know what the numbers are or anything like that, so you can't really know if it's going to save money or it's not going to save money. You would have to find out," Bellairs said.

"They were only asking are you open to the suggestion at all? No details have been worked out," she noted.

Bellairs wanted permission from the township board to approach the Oxford Township Parks and Recreation Department to see if it's interested in maintaining the 4-mile stretch and if so, how much it would charge for the job.

Right now, whenever there's maintenance work to be done at the Oxford Veterans Memorial Civic Center, the parks department charges the township $47 per hour.

Although no motion was approved, there were those on the township board who favored the idea of seeking bids from contractors for maintenance of the entire 14.6-mile trail.

"I think they should just put it as one project and bid it out," said township Treasurer Joe Ferrari.

It was noted that an action like that would have to be taken by the trail council.

CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.
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