NEW BUFFALO — New Buffalo Township voted to offer $346,250 for a 12.9-acre parcel on U.S. 12 between Lubke and Wilson Roads to build a new fire station large enough to house today’s firefighting equipment.

The 4-0 vote cast during the Monday, July, 15 meeting (Patty Iazzetto was absent) comes after the property passed the final environmental assessment test mandated when partially buried barrels were found during the first phase of testing. The cost of the testing lowered the offer from the original $380,000 estimate approved in February.

The property is almost adjacent to the current 1960s-vintage Fire Station 2, which can barely hold modern fire trucks, is not in the best of shape, and is located on a small parcel of land. Township Supervisor Michelle Heit said the next step will be drawing up site plans and beginning work on the design for a new fire station.

In the meantime, the township’s other fire station at 17655 Clay St. now has a new sign, outdoor lighting and illuminated flagpole and will be the site of a “fun-filled” Public Safety Day on Sunday, Aug. 4, from noon to 3 p.m. The board authorized payment for the three lighting projects at the station to Wolverine Electric for a total of about $4,000.

Progress on the Interstate 94 Exit One improvements is not so encouraging, with Heit speculating the work may not be completed until next spring. 

During discussion after the meeting, Heit said a final contract with Grand River Construction is just being finalized and she suspects they already have other projects planned through the end of this year.  Heit said the delay in the project was caused by the need to obtain various state and federal agency approvals. Plans for the exit include a new “Gateway” welcome sign, decorative fencing and lighting.

Meanwhile, things are hopping at Exit Four, but much to the dismay of neighbors in the vicinity of the former PDI Driving School location on the northwest section of the intersection. During the public comment, one nearby resident repeated her complaints of late-night dumping and the crushing of chunks of concrete and traffic by double-axle semi-trucks with back-up signals sounding throughout the night. In addition to the noise, the resident said nothing had been done to help with the dust caused by the 24-hour truck traffic around the site. Treasurer Jack Rogers said he would check into the situation.

The Township Board approved the twelfth and final payment of $11,800 to Payjay Construction for the Michigan Shores Water Project. Clerk Judy Zabicki said the work was completed and she had received many favorable comments about the better water flow and landscape restoration. The $1.5 million project began in July 2018 in an unincorporated area of the township and is funded by a 20-year special assessment for residents in that subdivision.

After Parks Director Patrick Donnelly reported on his attendance at the Accelerator Leadership Program funded by The Pokagon Fund, the board approved Heit’s enrollment in the 10-month class beginning this fall. The class is designed to build partnerships and foster local leadership.

The board amended the Fireworks Ordinance to match the State of Michigan schedule for the permitted use of fireworks: from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. the following day on Dec. 31, and from 11 a.m. to 11:45 p.m. on the Saturday and Sunday immediately preceding Memorial Day, June 29 and 30, July 1-4 and the Saturday and Sunday immediately preceding Labor Day.

In other July 15 business, the New Buffalo Township Board:

• Heard Fire Chief Jamie Fleck report on a very busy month that include 31 calls plus appearances at Waters Edge Day Care Center, the Three Oaks Flag Day Parade and the Grand Beach Golf Cart Parade;

• Voted to purchase $1 million of cybercrime insurance for $999 annually;

• Appointed Ron Farina to the Corridor Improvement Authority;

• Adopted a Limited English Proficiency Plan, which is required to receive federal funding;

• Gave an outdoor assembly permit for thew Full Throttle Throwdown car show at U.S. Speed and Custom on July 20.

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