NEW TROY — The acquisition of the mystery land” is just one of the many steps uncovered in Supervisor Gary Sommers’ “Weesaw Moving Forward” State of the Township report delivered during the township’s March 30 annual meeting.
Setting the tone was his statement of appreciation to many members of the community.
“I want to thank all the Township Board members for their time and talents during the past year. It takes a lot of time and dedication from the whole board for the township to run smoothly and efficiently. I also want to thank Jack Dodds, the township resource person, Mike Metz, Planning Commission chairman and local historian, and Skip Green, custodian and handyman, for all their help and contributions. As you can see the township has had a busy year and is moving forward,” Sommers said.
The title to the six-acre “mystery land,” so named due questions over past ownership, is now officially part of Weesaw Township Park. Additionally, 28 acres on the south side of Weechik Road east of New Troy Cemetery was acquired for future cemetery use and expansion plus a new recreational area with walking trails.
Plans for other park improvements include a new sign, better drainage in the playground area, a message board, a portable toilet from May through September, a cement pad for picnic table and grill, a walking path at the site of the old high school running track, a new driveway and additional parking near the lower-level Tirrell’s Trail and a small playground adjacent to new picnic area.
In the second year of its second two-year road millage, more than three miles were primed and double seal-coated along Baldwin, Holden and Wagner roads. Gravel was applied to Larson Road in accordance with the township’s decision to not have any dirt roads in the township. Additionally, two rusted tubes on Garner Road were replaced with funds from the Berrien County Road Department and a $27,000 grant was received to repair flood damage caused by the early spring
Looking ahead with a six-year road plan now in place, one mile of Pardee Road and two miles of Wagner Road will be ground up and graveled during 2019 with the priming and seal coating scheduled for 2020.
Due to changes in the county’s budgeting focus to concentrate on primary roads, the township had to budget additional funds for 2019-20 to complete the Elm Valley Road work. It also means future road millages will be needed if the township is going to continue the repair and maintenance of its local roads, according to Sommers.
Drains is another area requiring partnering with the county. Advance notice of drain maintenance with the approximate cost is being received from the county’s drain commissioner and efforts by the township Drain Committee continue to limit the costs.
The attack on blight in the township continues to make progress through the efforts of Robert Krauss, an enforcement officer hired in May 2015. Making its way through the lengthy legal process, the township has successfully closed 18 complaints, including in the demolition of two buildings. The clean up of these sites continues and efforts are underway to close the remaining 30 outstanding complaints.
Other areas of progress noted in Sommers’s annual report include:
• Work is scheduled to begin in August to eliminate the formation of icicles on the township hall and fire station.
• In order to make the fire department OSHA compliant, a plan was developed by a consultant and the Weesaw Township Safety Committee to update equipment, safety procedures and record keeping.
• A concrete pad for the recycling bins was approved with funding from Berrien County, Friends of New Troy and the township. Use of the bins has increased since surrounding communities have discontinued their recycling programs.