By Ethan Merrill
Holt Journal staff writer
The Delhi Charter Township Park Commission approved a motion 6-0 on Wednesday, Feb. 12, to hold a public hearing on March 12, regarding the proposed Kiwanis Park restroom overhaul.
Delhi Township Parks & Recreation Director Mark Jenks spoke to the board for around 40 minutes about the need for a new restroom in Kiwanis Park, and his desire to increase public support for the upcoming hearing.
“This is a needed project, and one that is long overdue,” said Jenks. “The current restrooms are existing under less than desirable conditions.”
The estimated cost of the new facility, according to Jenks, will fall between $250,000-370,000. Jenks also wanted it to be clear to members of the community that the project would not all be paid by tax dollars.
“After the township board approves, we send in a grant application to the Department of Natural Resources,” said Jenks. “If the plan is approved, the township will then match 25 percent of the project’s cost out of our general fund.”
Grants for community projects approved by the DNR are paid out of the state of Michigan’s “extraction royalties” fund. According to Jenks, this is tax money collected from mineral and oil drilling in the state. The deadline for applications to be considered this year is April 1st, which is part of the reason Jenks wants to bring this discussion to the community.
“The DNR likes to see grass-root type movements for these grants,” said Jenks. “If they see this is clearly not just a government issue, our chances to get approved increase.”
The facilities at Kiwanis were built in the late 1960s, and are still used by park visitors and travelers of the walkway it intersects. One longtime Holt resident is more than familiar with the poor conditions of the restrooms.
“My children grew up a street away from Kiwanis Park, so I’ve seen that building live out its course,” said Mike Hamilton. “There’s no doubt a change needs to be made over there.”
A preliminary meeting for public input is set for March 4. After another hearing on the 12th, the Township Board will make its decision about the application on March 18.
If approved, the application results would not be known until October or November. Construction would then be planned for the spring of 2015.