1 13 Sawyer Section House

The planned future home of the Section House Event Hall in Sawyer.

HARBERT — The Chikaming Township Planning Commission on Jan. 5 approved a final site plan and recommended the Township Board OK a special land use for the Section House Event Hall at 5896 Sawyer Road (to be established in the former Sawyer Hardware & Lumber building).

The vote took place following a public hearing and discussion amongst planners.

“The existing large building that was the lumber store will be turned into an event hall,” said Robert Andrew of Merritt Midwest Engineering and Surveying. “The area that is currently gravel around that building for the most part will be paved and made into permanent, organized parking. A permanent underground drain will be installed going to a detention basin at the rear of the property which discharges to the Coney drain to the south.”

In response to comments made during the Dec. 1 Planning Commission meeting, Andrew said a few adjustments such as adding spot elevations to make the drainage plan more clear, clarified that the existing overhead utilities will remain on site, confirmed that a large existing pine tree will be retained, as will some brush and trees on the southwest portion of the property, and added 10 trees for landscaping.

During discussion among planners on Jan. 5, it was noted that since there is no restaurant included in the site plan, the 80 parking spaces included are many more than required (which stands at 49 spaces).

Planners praised the Section House Event Hall plan as presented.

“You did a really nice job, and I think you responded well to our meeting last month,” said Chairman John Chipman….

Following the meeting, Andrew said following Township Board approval of the special land use and the final soil erosion permit from the drain office, “they will get to work.”

“They want to be open this summer,” he added.

On Dec. 1, Drew Ytterberg (who with his father, Brad, is spearheading the project) said “We’re going for brides, weddings, we’re going for something that’s beautiful.”

Also on Jan. 5, Chipman said Kevin Stack of the County Road Department expects plans for the Sawyer Road project from Red Arrow Highway to Flynn Road will be in place by the end of February.

“They’re going to go to bid in the middle of March, so it’s going to go pretty fast,” he added.

Chipman said he expects Chikaming Township to work with the Road Department and its streetscape consultant “to make sure that it all works together.”

“It’s exciting and it’s going to change things drastically for Sawyer,” he said.

In response to a question on whether there are plans for the spot where the old fire station building stood, Chipman said whether it becomes a little park or a center for the town that may include seating and space for a farmers market remains to be seen.

“I call it like a blank palette, we could make it what we want,” he said.

And Chipman said design plans for the Harbert Streetscape (from Harbert Community Park to Milly’s just past the post office) are being finalized, adding that “probably next month we’ll all see it.”

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