The Delhi Township Fire Department recently recognized those doing their best work to keep the community safe. On Feb. 18, Delhi Fire Chief Brian Ball held an awards banquet to recognize personnel in the Delhi Township Fire Department. Retired Deputy Chief Michael Grant was recognized for his 38 years working in the department and helping the Holt community, and master firefighter Matt Bennett was awarded firefighter of the year. According to the Delhi Township website, the department contains 14 full-time personnel and 25 members who are paid, on-call.
By Katie Dudlets
The Meridian Times Staff Reporter
OKEMOS — The new Central Fire Station located at the corner of Okemos Road and Central Park Drive comes in a larger context of infrastructure redevelopment for Meridian Township. It has been fully-operational and providing emergency services since January. Fire Chief Fred Cowper believes this move from the antiquated station on Clinton Street to the new one was entirely necessary. “The [Clinton Street] fire station that we closed was built in 1957, and in 1957 there weren’t females in the fire service in our country,” said Cowper. “So it lacked separate bathrooms, showers and dormitories.
With winter weather scares already in the books for the new year, Meridian Township public officials are relying on the township’s emergency operations plan to keep residents safe and informed during Michigan’s temperamental transition from winter to spring. Meridian Township Fire Chief and Emergency Manager Fred Cowper said the plan values transparency between city officials and Meridian residents. “The plan is updated nearly every year and is shared online and at board meetings,” Cowper said. “Our communications director is always a part of our emergency meetings. She makes sure everything is up to date with contacting media sources and putting information on Facebook and Twitter.”
After reviewing Meridian’s communication outlets and social platforms, Juan Mundel, doctoral student within Michigan State University’s Department of Advertising and Public Relations, noted some strengths and weaknesses within the township’s policies.
The closed fire station and bank building on the corner of Okemos and Hamilton Road won’t sit empty for long thanks to local business owner and developer Kris Elliottt of Evergreen Companies. Elliott plans to redevelop the intersection by renovating the former bank building, MARC, into a restaurant and demolishing the old Meridian Township fire station and library building. “We thought we would try to have some transformation and some synergy down there,” said Meridian Township Treasurer Julie Brixie. “Having a popular restaurant would be something that drives a lot of people to an area and helps an area turn around really quick,” she said. Phase one of the project is the renovation of the restaurant and the demolition of the fire station.
Kean’s Store, a Mason classic that has remained unchanged in the downtown square for 87 years, is being renovated after severe smoke damage that wiped out all of the merchandise. In June, an electrical fire at Baja Grill, a restaurant attached to Kean’s, caused smoke to seep into the store and caused major damage. “Everything had to come out. They gutted it. It was a long process,” said Laurie Reed, the store manager of Kean’s.
The Holt Farmers’ Market has extended its hours and is now open every Saturday all year round due to increasing sales from vendors. Marcy Bishop Kates, executive director and cofounder of Holt Community Connect — a nonprofit organization to help the community thrive — said that market sales have broke a record of over $5,000 this past year. The market is located at 2150 Cedar Street, which is the former fire department building. Market Manager Chuck Grinnell says the increase in sales is due to the growing amount of customers as well as vendors. “Our customer base has grown such that it can support a year round market, we have vendors that rely on year round sales income, and making the best use of an indoor facility, ” says Grinnell.
On Oct. 6 Meridian Township Board discussed the sale of the Central Fire Station at 2150 Clinton St. and The MARC at 4675 Okemos Road. Township Manager Frank Walsh brought everyone up to date about the details of when construction might begin and said Evergreen Companies was the best deal. The deal, which was set to be signed by Township Clerk Brett Dreyfus and Township Supervisor Elizabeth LeGoff on Oct.1, is now null and void because LeGoff has been ill.
Firefighters served up more than food Oct. 10 at the sixth annual pancake breakfast and open house at the fire station at 1296 W. Grand River Ave. The event’s purpose was to teach about fire prevention as part of national fire prevention week. It also raised money for the Williamston Firemen’s Association, said Tony Worth, president of the group. The money buys new equipment for the department and is donated to organizations such as the food bank.
In celebration of fire prevention week, the Williamston Firemen’s Association is hosting the 6th annual pancake breakfast and open house on Saturday, Oct. 10. Between 8 a.m. and 11:30 a.m., members of the association will serve all-you-can-eat pancakes with scrambled eggs, sausage, hash browns, orange juice, milk and coffee at the NIESA/Williamston Fire Station, 1296 W. Grand River Ave. “It’s a fundraiser for the association, (which) uses it to buy equipment for the department,” said Capt. Scott Cochrane. “We also give money to local charities like the food bank.”
Tickets are $6 for adults, $4 for children under 12 or $20 per family.
Intermodal Policy Section Manager for the Michigan Department of Transportation Rob Balmes provided a brief overview of Proposal 1 at the March 16 City Council Meeting detailing main changes taxpayers will witness if the Proposal is passed. “Proposal 1,” Balmes said, “will increase sales tax from 6 to 7 percent, while exempting fuel purchases, if approved by a vote to amend the Michigan Constitution May 5. Sent to ballot by the House and the Senate, Proposal 1 would trigger a series of other laws designed to maximize new investments on road funding and minimize growing tax burdens for low-income residents, Balmes said. According to Balmes, Proposal 1 would generate about $1.25 billion a year for state and local road agencies by 2018, and another $200 million a year to schools, $111 million for cities, $116 million for mass transit and $173 million for the state general fund. Balmes outlined the 10 pieces of legislation Proposal 1 offers Michigan people if passed on May 5.