Williamstown Board of Trustees approves Red Cedar River excavation

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The Williamston Post
Kelsey Clements

Builders have started unclogging a log-jammed section of the Red Cedar River in Williamstown Township as part of a construction project in Lansing.

The Board of Trustees approved the wetlands project in a 4-1 vote on Feb. 10, ensuring that the complex of hotel, residential and retail planned for Clippert Street and Michigan Avenue can go forward.

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The law requires builders who disrupt a floodplain in one area — which is happening with the Lansing project — to improve wetlands in another area, which is where Williamstown comes in.

Jason Hockstok is a civil engineer working for Continental Real Estate, the development company paying for the excavation in Williamstown. He designed and implemented the complex as well as the excavation.

The 40,000 square foot project has been in the process for three years after it began July 6, 2012. 

“There is a log jam in the Red Cedar River in Williamstown that has been there for years, which could potentially cause the water to relocate, undermining existing roads,” said Hockstok. “The project will include taking dirt from the ground and moving the floodplain south of the river.”

Williamstown was chosen to do this excavation after talking with landowners in multiple cities. Tom Stover, the property owner of the land in Williamstown, and Hockstok had a common goal: to excavate the land and fix the log jam.

“Williamstown has an ordinance and a zoning requirement which needed to be approved by the Board of Trustees,” said Stover.

Before the meeting had begun and the excavation was approved, Hockstok said, “If this piece falls through, the entire project falls through.”

This meeting was essential and if it had gone otherwise, three years of planning and implementing, would have gone to waste. By doing this, it’s a win-win situation. Hockstok can build the complex in Lansing, and by offsetting its effect on the environment, the log jam on Stover’s property in Williamstown will be cleared.

“We have met all the regulations and are actually creating a better environmental situation,” said Hockstok. “We are creating a better floodplain and more wetland. It’s a win for the entire community.”

The project is in effect immediately and the goal is to have the trees by the log jam cleared before March 31 and to have to entire project complete before this year’s farming season. The main focus is to have a limited impact on the community.

Wanda Bloomquist, supervisor of the trustees said, “I am thankful for you working with us to clean it up. it’ll be very nice in the end.”

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