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Published: Wednesday, 8/15/2007

Whiteford due to open bids for its new park

OTTAWA LAKE - Bids for the initial phase of the new 90-acre Whiteford Township park are due at 1 p.m. tomorrow at Poggemeyer Design Group office in Monroe.

The township park board will review the bids at its meeting at 7 p.m. Monday to prepare a recommendation to the township board, which will hold its meeting at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday to award the contract.

Stoneco deeded the land for the park to the township roughly four years ago.

The new Whiteford Stoneco Community Park would replace the township's 31-acre park on Whiteford Center and Sterns roads.

It sold the current park to Mike Jurgensen of Lambertville for $400,000 in 2005, and the sale was contingent on Mr. Jurgensen being allowed to begin building his proposed garden center by March, 2008.

Last year, the township applied for grants from the Michigan Natural Resources trust fund and from the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund.

The township hoped to receive $1 million but was turned down.

It has reapplied for the grants but will not learn whether it has received them until December. So, it must get started on the first phase of the project - four baseball diamonds, two softball diamonds, two soccer areas, and a concession stand - by using alternative funding.

The township will chip in most of the $400,000 from the park sale, and it hopes to raise additional funds from local business and individuals, through donations of money, services, or material.

Township Clerk Bernice Heidelberg said that finishing phase one would require $1.4 million.

However, she said, for $345,000 it could be completed without lighting, picnic tables, benches, or other extras.

She said officials want the fields in place by this spring so children will have somewhere to play ball.

The township plans to eventually add two more soccer fields, a football field, and tennis, volleyball, and basketball courts.

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