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Published: Wednesday, 3/9/2005

Ida Township: Trustees pursue state funding to upgrade parkland


IDA - It worked in Bedford, so now Ida Township will take a shot at securing a state grant to help pay for new playground equipment in the township's only park.

A citizens' committee has been working on a new recreation plan for Ida Township that includes, among other things, plans to replace decades-old playground equipment in the four-acre park located to the west of the newly-built township hall.

The recreation plan, being put together with help from Monroe County Planner Robert Peven, is the first requirement for securing what township officials hope will be a $40,000 grant from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

If Ida is successful in securing the grant, it would match the funds with $20,000 in township money that's been saved up for the project and $20,000 it hopes to raise through private donations.

The township park is located immediately north of a much larger park parcel that is owned by the Ida Volunteer Firemen's Association. The Association's 10-acre park includes the ball diamonds and several buildings used for the its annual homecoming event, while the township's land houses the playground, a basketball court, and a shelter. Though few residents make a distinction, the planned upgrade would take place only on the township's land.

"The township really wants to improve the playground, to bring it up to code," Mr. Peven explained. "They can't do that until they have a recreation plan in place."

It could take as long as a year for the township to hear whether it will receive the DNR grant, the same funding mechanism that helped Bedford Township upgrade the ancient playground equipment in White Park several years ago before Bedford's Parks and Recreation Board passed its own millage in 2003.

In addition to playground equipment, Ida Township's recreation plan also calls for a total of about $200,000 in improvements to the park, including new exercise equipment, some handicapped-accessible walkways on the land, and a new picnic shelter, said Mr. Peven, who said he likes the township's chances of receiving some state funding."[The DNR] likes to give grants to small as well as large communities. Because [Ida's] small, they're not going to ask for an outrageous amount either, so that helps," Mr. Peven said.

Township officials also hope to one day offer some recreational opportunities on land it recently purchased along Morocco Road. That land was purchased for the eventual construction of a second township fire station.

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