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TEMPERANCE — The Bedford Township Board was the recipient of good news last week: The community has been awarded two state grants to improve its waste and storm water and park systems.
The wastewater and storm water grant, from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, is for $932,942, Monroe County Drain Commissioner David Thompson told board members. The township match is $103,660.
A $56,500 park grant is from the state’s Department of Natural Resources and will be used at Lewis Ansted Community Park. The township’s match is an equal amount, said Bob Hamilton of Mannik and Smith Group Inc., the park commission’s engineering consultant for the Ansted improvements.
Mr. Thompson, a township resident, explained that the grant money would be put to good use, given that Bedford’s system for handling wastewater and storm water was more than 40 years old and showing its age.
“Everything has a useful lifespan, and we have reached or exceeded that in many cases,” he said.
The drain commissioner said the treatment plant on Lavoy Road needs an upgrade and Bedford’s storm sewers leaked into its sanitary sewers, causing unnecessary and costly treatment for storm water.
The grant money, he said, would be used to conduct a study of the township’s needs. The process would include examining sewer lines with a TV camera and cleaning them, and the creation of a geographic information system base map of the system. Work is expected to begin in May. The information collected then will be used to develop a plan to correct deficiencies.
The design phase of the improvements, which is not included in the grant, is expected to extend from December, 2016, to September, 2017, and construction would begin in the spring of 2018, he said, using a PowerPoint presentation.
When Trustee Larry O’Dell asked about paying for the needed repairs, such as leaking sewer lines, Mr. Thompson said the cost would be borne by the Bedford system. Mr. Thompson said it would be critical to have access to the state revolving fund for wastewater treatment plants and collection systems, as the loans typically carry a 2 percent interest rate.
The improvements at Ansted Park will be done this summer and include the addition of more than 4,000 feet of trail, bringing the park’s total trail network to more than 6,000 feet, Mr. Hamilton said.
Land will be regraded and native grasses and wildflowers planted “for a nice meadow,” he added.
In other business, the board approved hiring Dennis Jenkins, the township's retired planner, as a consultant for the understaffed planning department. He will work two half-days per week, at $50 per hour billable in tenth of an hour increments.
Trustee Nancy Tienvieri said she thought highly of Mr. Jenkins but that his working eight hours a week would not solve the planning department’s staffing problem. “I don’t think a part-time person is the answer.”
Clerk Trudy Hershberger said she was drawing up the credentials the township wanted for a full-time planner, and other board members noted that the arrangement with Mr. Jenkins was not intended as a long-term solution.
Contact Carl Ryan at: email@example.com or 419-724-6095.