The Meridian Township Parks and Recreation Department have wrapped up the renovations at Wonch Park this month. Residents now enjoy a new set of outdoor fitness equipment, a new perimeter loop pathway, a repaved parking lot and a large mural displayed at the entrance of the park. “Wonch Park was really one that we needed to get at,” said LuAnn Maisner, director of Parks and Recreation. “It needed some love, it was tired. It’s one of the oldest parks in our community and was important for us to get that taken care of.”
The outdoor fitness equipment has created a great buzz in the community.
The majority of precincts in Meridian saw high voter turnout during the first hour that polls were open. In Precinct 1, there was a 40-45 minute wait during the first hour, and in Precinct 5 nearly 10 percent of registered voters turned out then. “During that period, we had about a minute per voter,” said Precinct 1 chairwoman Beverly Stephens. “Right now, we have 697 ballots.”
“In the first 50 minutes, 160 people came in,” said Precinct 5 chairman Jim Brazier. “We are approaching about 700 votes.”
One challenge during early hours voting was the ballot tabulator jamming and saying the ballot was defective.
Meridian’s second voting precinct at Haslett High School tried to get ahead of the game by taking two hours Monday night to set up and prepare for the big day. Despite the effort, an early crash in the voting booth computers brought a rough start to Election Day. A glitch in the booth computers halted the operation just minutes after the doors opened, which made an already long line get even worse. “Oh yeah, it caused a jam,” said precinct co-chair Ginger Petty. “The line snaked all around inside the gym and even started outside the door at one point.
Meridian Township Clerk Brett Dreyfus said that, based on the morning voter turnout, this election could have the largest voter participation ever in the township. “The largest (turnout) we’ve ever had was in 2008. (In) 2012 it dropped off because it was a re-election campaign, but this year it might actually surpass 2008,” Dreyfus said. “We had a 73 percent voter turnout in 2012 and so we were told by the state to expect upwards of 80 percent turnout,” Dreyfus said. First-time voter Leonardo Abbrescia said his experience at his poll was exciting.
Capital Area Transportation Authority, or CATA, will offer free rides on Election Day, Nov. 8. A bus pass will not be required. CATA Director of Marketing Laurie Robison wrote in an email that “a valid voter registration card is all that’s required for a free ride aboard CATA on Election Day.”
The former Applegate Driving Range in Meridian Township will become a 23-acre park, with the start of construction planned for early 2017 and the debut expected in 2019. Located in the northern Haslett area off Lake Lansing, Towner Road Park aims to attract as many residents as possible.
Bicycles get refurbished. Medicine gets incinerated. Latex paint gets remade and electronics get broken down. But the volunteers at the Meridian Recycling event? They always stay the same: strong, helpful, and happy to give back to their community.
The Meridian Township Farmers’ Markets may permanently move from Central Park Pavilion to the Meridian Mall parking lot, according to the Parks and Recreation director, LuAnn Maisner. The department is discussing with Meridian Mall to create a partnership plan for the new shared location. The department hopes to incorporate new green space with picnic tables and other amenities to the new location. “It will take several months to be implemented, but plans are being discussed,” Maisner said. Marjorie Johns has been a vendor at the farmers’ market for several years and is opposed to the move of the market to the Meridian Mall parking lot.