HARBERT – Following Jan. 9 presentations by Park Board Chairperson Deborah Hall-Kayler and Vice Chair Arthur Anderson, the Chikaming Township Board voted unanimously to approve the Park Board’s Five-Year Plan that will act as a guideline for actions during 2020-2025.

The plan received unanimous approval by the Park Board membership during a meeting on Jan. 6.

Hall-Kayler thanked her fellow Steering Committee members Anderson and Joseph Reed for their work developing the new document, and consultant Tom Hackley for his guidance in bringing the process to a successful end.

Anderson outlined the five main goals of the Five-Year Plan: 1. To improve management capabilities of the Park Board to better maintain and improve the growing number of properties under its stewardship; 2. Integrate their system of parks and preserves within the township and with neighboring jurisdictions through connecting trails and greenway corridors; 3. Develop additional recreational facilities to complement existing assets, and to promote healthy outdoor activities for a variety of ages; 4. To actively seek and collaborate with partners to acquire and restore open space to preserve the natural resources of the township; and 5. To educate Chikaming residents and visitors to our unique geographical and biological environment, and to help them know and appreciate the many recreational opportunities in and around the township, and to increase awareness of safe practices.

While the first four goals of the new plan closely echo those of the previous document, the final goal promoting education is a new addition.

The next step in the process is to submit the new Five-Year Plan to the state for review and approval.

In other Jan. 9 business, Township Supervisor David Bunte said most of the engineering work had been completed for the Union Pier/Red Arrow Highway Corridor Improvement Project that will be taking place this year.

The discussion topic on the final portion of the agenda was “What’s ahead in 2020 for Chikaming,” and that major project dominated the conversation.

Bunte noted that, among other things, it is expected that the main intersection will have to be closed sometime this spring in order to facilitate the installation of new infrastructure.

He said there would also be improvements made to sections of Lakeshore Road.

“This year you could say that our township will be ‘under construction,’ but the projects that will be done will involve work that has been needed to be undertaken for years,” he said.

The public is invited to attend an informational meeting on the project that will take place at New Buffalo Township Hall on Wednesday, Feb. 12, from 6 to 7:30 p.m.

Additional information is also available on the chikamingtownship.org website.

Also, Bunte said the township would participate in Earth Day and Green Communities Initiatives in close proximity to Earth Day on April 22.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the first Earth Day celebrated in 1970.

Finally, it was announced that clerk Paula Dudiak will be overseeing three elections this year on the following Tuesdays: March 10; August 4; and November 3.

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