Township has park tax increase on August ballot

By Ryan Hodges
Meridian Times Staff Writer

With a park system that is now nearly three times the size of what it was when the millage was established, Teri Banas, township parks commission vice chair, said the current millage is not enough.

Anne Perkins, Haslett resident, volunteering at the Harris Nature Center monthly "Stewardship Days."

Anne Perkins, Haslett resident, volunteering at the Harris Nature Center “Stewardship Days.”

“Our millage was established in 1984,” Banas said. “Just to give you a sense of how long ago that was, it was the year that (Apple’s) Macintosh was revealed.”

Currently operating on roughly $504,000 per year, township parks would collect over $1 million annually with the proposed millage. This would provide funding for park-development projects that have been put on hold for as many as 14 years.

The tax issue will be on the Aug. 5 ballot. The current tax of a third of a mill will run until 2016. The proposal would set the tax at two thirds of a mill, 67 cents per $1,000 of assessed value, for 12 years starting in 2014. Both taxes would be in until the existing millage expires in 2016.

Residents will pay tax at one mill until 2016 if the millage increase is passed. Then the tax would drop to two thirds of a mill when the current millage expires.

Township Treasurer Julie Brixie said that the question on the ballot is a little complicated to understand.
Continue reading

Share
Posted in Budget, Elections, Government, Parks & recreation | Leave a comment

Age, time overtook central fire station

The old Central Fire Station in Meridian Township

The old Central Fire Station in Meridian Township

By Spencer Impellizzeri
Meridian Times staff writer

“The saying is that on average, a firefighter spends one third of his life in the fire station,” Tavis Millerov, a fire inspector and paramedic in Meridian Township, said. “This isn’t just where we work, it’s our home away from home.”

Built in 1957, Station 91, also known as the Central Fire Station, served Meridian Township for nearly 60 years before it was shut down on Feb. 12, 2014. The station was fully operational for the full time period, but as the building got older, more and more issues arose, largely due to the limited repairs and improvements.
Continue reading

Share
Posted in Fire, Public safety | Leave a comment

Planning Commission approves review for new fire station

By Spencer Impellizzeri
Meridian Times staff writer

The Planning Commission of Meridian Township approved the Section 61 review for the new fire station proposed in Meridian Township at the meeting on March 24.

A Section 61 review is an assessment of a site where a public building is to be built that needs to be approved by the Planning Commission in order for construction to be done.

The vote was close, as the chair of the commission, Patricia Herring Jackson, broke a 3-3 tie and approved the review.
Continue reading

Share
Posted in Fire, Government, Meetings, Public safety, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Township awaits decision on fire station site

By Coty Kenneth
Meridian Times staff writer

Location for the new fire station on the corner of Central Park Drive and Okemos Road.

Location for the new fire station on the corner of Central Park Drive and Okemos Road.

It has been 17 months since the approval for a new fire department on Nov. 6, 2012. Meridian Township voters approved the new centrally located station, which is the same site that is now the cause of discontent and opposition from residents.

“The Meridian Township Central Fire Station bond proposal allowed the township to issue $3.5 million in general bonds in order to build the new fire department,” said Meridian Township Treasurer Julie Brixie.

The request for a new centrally located fire station began as the condition of the original building became increasingly worse. The Central Station on Clinton street in Okemos had fallen into disrepair over the past few years but in the past 18 months has become unusable.

Fire Chief Fred Cowper said the department has tried to stay in the building because of the belief they would have a new fire station. The building had leaks in all areas of the station.

While the addition of the new fire station is agreed on, the location has brought discontent. The proposed site is four acres of a 28-acre parcel on the corner of Okemos Road and Central Park Drive.

Many say they were tricked, claiming that the ballot was unclear on the location.

“If I hadn’t re-read the ballot carefully, I too would have voted for this location. Which is my front yard,” said Betsy Strobl.

Residents of the Autumn Park Condominiums have opposed the project from the beginning. Concerns range from the noise of the alarms and trucks and the proximity of the station to their homes.

Continue reading

Share
Posted in Fire, Government, Public safety | Leave a comment

Township approves Special Use Permit for new fire station

By Coty Kenneth
Meridian Times staff writer

Sign that was posted at the location for the new fire station. At the corner of Central Park Drive and Okemos Road.

Sign that was posted at the location for the new fire station. At the corner of Central Park Drive and Okemos Road.

After a final vote, a decision has been made: the Meridian Township has voted in favor of granting a Special Use Permit. At the April 1 meeting, board members approved the permit to build the new fire station with a six to one vote; Clerk Brett Dreyfus voted alone in opposition.

During the March 18 board meeting, many concerns arose regarding the placement of the station, the environmental issues and the volume of noise that would be generated. Mark Kieselbach and Thomas Bennett gave a presentation addressing these issues prior to continued discussion on the Special Use Permit.

“The fire station was reduced from approximately 15,000 square feet to about 14,000 square feet by removing the bay on the north side,” said Kieselbach. “Additional trees are proposed to be planted to become a buffer and the training tower that was in the original plan is now taken out.”

Several residents opposed the plan. Many were very direct and opinionated. However, a few viewpoints were conveyed with a sense of lightheartedness and comic relief.

“After leaving the planning commission meeting last week, many concerns ran through my head,” said 50-year Meridian Township resident Heather Jones Clark. “My first and foremost concern was how on earth anyone has ever been able to build a fire station anywhere.”

Continue reading

Share
Posted in Government, Meetings | Leave a comment

A running start on the future of Okemos High School Athletics

By Coty Kenneth
Meridian Times staff writer

Okemos High School men's varsity baseball getting a victory on its home turf.

Okemos High School men’s varsity baseball getting a victory on its home turf.

Board members and staff gathered March 24 to discuss the past, present and future of athletics at Okemos High School. Athletic facilities and student-athlete development were the main talking points as the Athletic Director, Ira Childress addressed the board.

“Once I got my feet wet, I wanted to figure out if we had a plan for where Okemos athletics was going to be in the future,” said Childress. “After talking to a few people, it was evident that we did not.”

Okemos athletics has a bright future but the path at which it would follow was not as certain among the board.

“He (Ira Childress) is new to Okemos this school year and part of his role was to figure out where we are and where we are going,” said Superintendent Catherine Ash.

With hopes of making the future plan a collaborative effort, Childress created a committee. It is one that helps to shape the future of Okemos High School athletics. Comprised of 12 individuals, the Okemos Athletics Advisory Committee includes teachers, coaches, administration and boosters/parents.

“We have a large number of sports. We have sports that are not common among the other districts,” in the Capital Area Activities Conference, said board member Steve Vagnozzi. “We’re a microcosm of college sports.” Continue reading

Share
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Let’s let the dogs out

By Coty Kenneth
Meridian Times staff writer

Entrance to Legg Park, off of Van Atta Road in Okemos

Entrance to Legg Park, off of Van Atta Road in Okemos

Man’s best friend will soon have a 10-acre park dedicated to the active lifestyle of dogs. It has been almost four years since the idea of a dog park in Meridian Township was brought to the table, and hopes of the interested residents remain high.

A portion of the 103-acre Legg Park will be where the dog park will be constructed. In 2009, residents formed The Dog Park Advisory Board. When the proposal was discussed in front of the Township Planning Commission, it was originally believed there was enough money to complete the park.

Vice chair of Meridian Township Park Commission, Teri Banas said “When we brought the plan to the commission, they told us we had to add a paved road that goes into the park. Which would cost us about $100,000, so that set the plan back.”

At the moment, the funds for this park are operating on one-third of the current millage, which is proving to be a problem said Banas. Continue reading

Share
Posted in Parks, Parks & recreation | Leave a comment