HARBERT — The Chikaming Township Park Board during its June 22 regular meeting voted 4-1 in favor of a July 25 concert at Harbert Community Park that would benefit the non-profit Acorn Theater.

Acorn Theater Executive Director Sandra Thompson and Board Member Allan Kayler proposed an “Acorn Anywhere” concert in the park on July 25, reporting that the Three Oaks-based theater has booked a Rolling Stones Tribute Band, “Beggars Banquet,” and envisions a gathering of 100 to 200 people who will bring their own seating and beverages (a wine/beer license will be secured). They said COVID-19 safety measures will be observed including spacing and masks.

The little league ball field will be used for seating, with available parking at the park and in the nearby Chikaming Township Offices parking lot to be utilized. Tickets are slated to cost $35 each.

A lengthy Park Board discussion explored the potential dangers and pitfalls of such an event in the age of COVID-19. The motion to approve was made, and the vote was four in favor (: Deborah Hall-Kayler, Shelly Taylor, Arthur Anderson and Janet Scharder), one opposed (Jill Underhill) and one abstention (Joseph Reed).

During a June 30 special meeting, the Chikaming Township Board OK’d allowing the Acorn Theater to apply for a liquor license from the state for the July 25 event (which it also approved pending the receipt of state permissions).

Also on June 22, it was reported to the Park Board that the Lakeside Association of Harbor Country (LAHC) has proposed a beautification project for the less than 1 acre triangular piece of land at the intersection of Lakeside Road and Pier Street. Peter VanNice gave a power point presentation that set forth the objective to use the property for educational purposes, have a demonstration garden and as a site for community events. The funding would be through LAHC, and there is a Memorandum of Understanding between the Association and the Chikaming Park Board, which was approved in September of 2018.

The Park Board’s discussion on the proposal lasted almost 30 minutes and dealt with who will mow the area (this is reportedly in the board’s budget) and how it will be watered )various neighbors were said to be willing to help) before the project was approved.

It was reported that the current situation at Cherry Beach is that access to the shore is closed off and clearly marked inaccessible, but people are going around the barriers and using the beach making for an unsafe situation in the event first responders need to get to the lakefront. A plan to rebuild the stairs with volunteer effort and donations was proposed. Architect Dan Mentinoff has reportedly drawn up plans. Safe access was noted as the top priority and Beach Access Committee Chair Joe Sipek noted that if any access stairway became unsafe they could be closed.

The Park Board gave tentative (but not unanimous) approval to go forward with the project subject to any concerns of the police or fire departments and township officials.

Within three days, a GoFundMe campaign had been started, initially raising a reported $2,385. Next steps include submittal and approval of the building permit, review with Township Supervisor David Bunte, and establishing a list of volunteers. Once all requirements are met, scheduling a special Park Board meeting is planned to give final approval to the project.

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