Nearly $1 million OK’d at special board meeting

The felling of several mature trees to make way for a new $760,000 parking lot was under way last week, prior to a special meeting of the trustees to approve the paving expense. Photo by Helen Yancy

 

May 8, 2015  PLYMOUTH EAGLE.

Plymouth Michigan News

 

Local residents were shocked at the cutting of trees in Plymouth Township Park last week to accommodate a new parking lot. Photo by Helen Yancy
Local residents were shocked at the cutting of trees in Plymouth Township Park last week to accommodate a new parking lot. Photo by Helen Yancy

Despite strong objections from three trustees, a bid of $712,130 was approved for expansion to a parking lot at Plymouth Township Park during a special meeting of the board last Thursday.

In addition, an expense of about $200,000 was approved for the moving of a water line as part of the Wayne County Beck Road paving project.

Trustee Bob Doroshewitz was vocal in his criticism of the expenses and the manner in which they were presented to the board. He noted that the packet of information and details were not provided to the trustees until 24 hours prior to the special meeting and also objected to the increase in costs for the parking lot.

Doroshewitz said that he would expect expenses of this magnitude to require more than a perfunctory review and automatic approval of board members.

“I’ve had no time to read the documents,” he said.
Doroshewitz said the original costs for the lot had doubled in price since it was first proposed in April of 2013. Since that original proposal, the 100 parking spaces to be located across from the park baseball fields, sledding hill and controversial all-weather pavilion, have grown to a total of 209 parking spaces, a new drainage system included and the original specifications for asphalt upgraded to concrete.

“I don’t think it is a rounding error. I don’t see how we can double the cost of the project,” Doroshewitz said.

Another $26,700 was OK’d for rubber groundcover at the township playscape.

Doroshewitz also called the lack of notice to the trustees “disrespectful” and said that these were discussions that should have taken place months ago.

Trustee Mike Kelly agreed.

“I would like to see more lead time on these projects,” he said. “It seems like we’re always rushing to get them in.”

Treasurer Ron Edwards countered Doroshewitz’ criticisms noting that the concrete lot would last far longer than the originally proposed asphalt. Edwards originated the original proposal for the entire $2 million recreational facilities project and has also been overseeing the construction of the all-weather pavilion which also doubled in cost. The total project will be funded by $1.9 million in bonds and another $550 in federal grants and private donations.

“We really believe for the community’s sake that concrete is the best way to go,” Edwards said. The estimated life of the concrete is 30-40 years while asphalt is 15-20 years, according to township engineers.

Edwards said that the funding for the increased expense was available and included in the total project costs.

The familiar voting bloc of Clerk Nancy Conzelman, Edwards and Trustee Kay Arnold was joined by Supervisor Shannon Price in a 4-3 vote to approve both the expense and a review of the paving contracts by the township attorney.

The no votes were cast by Doroshewitz, Kelly and Trustee Chuck Curmi.

The project has also raised concerns of area residents who objected to the clear cutting of trees last week prior to the meeting of the board.

Resident Chris Rheault, who lives near the park was appalled when she saw the township Department of Public Service begin to chop the trees down for the proposed parking lot.

“I encourage people to visit McClumpha Park-there virtually is nothing left but concrete and buildings-the peace and tranquility of the former bucolic setting have been stolen from all residents. “It is devastating to see such a loss of our beautiful sanctuary for an amusement center,” she said prior to the meeting of the board.

 

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