Board OKs grant matches to improve multiple parks in Clinton Township

George George and Normandy parks would receive upgrades

By: Nick Mordowanec | Fraser - Clinton Township Chronicle | Published April 9, 2019

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CLINTON TOWNSHIP — Weeks after the Michigan House of Representatives passed an appropriations bill that would affect George George Park and the Clinton River Spillway, the Clinton Township Board of Trustees approved three more grant resolutions.

The board unanimously voted March 25 to match grants pertaining to George George, Woodrow Woody and Normandy parks.

Two grants — one state and one federal — were submitted in regard to George George Park.

The first, a Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund grant, called for a $300,000, or 50 percent, match to expand the George George auxiliary parking lot, as well as install a new universally accessible kayak/canoe launch and implement green infrastructure. That application was due by April 1.

“(The additions) will help with the filtration of stormwater, and meets the goals of what the trust fund is trying to meet as well going forward in future projects,” said Scott Chabot, senior project engineer for township engineering firm AEW.

The federal grant, coming from the Land and Conservation Fund, would also rely on a $300,000 township match and would include the same upgrades as the MNRTF grant. That application was also due by April 1.

Township Public Services Director Mary Bednar said the state will provide direction if each grant is accepted, due to the township only being able to receive money from one or the other.

“This basically puts two eggs in one basket for us, to try to get the same money and try to get funding from one of two sources,” Bednar said.

Both of the George George-related grants include parcels of land at Woodrow Woody Park, located adjacent to George George. However, a home located in the 21100 block of Belleview Street right near the park may impact the site if either of the grants are applied.

Township Supervisor Bob Cannon said that if that house is purchased by the township, the house will be removed. If an agreement cannot be reached in terms of selling price, another parking lot will then be situated on the other side of the home.

Negotiations have been ongoing and are being conducted by Township Attorney Jack Dolan and Planning Director Bruce Thompson.

A grant from the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments, or SEMCOG, with a maximum amount of $50,000 and requiring no match from the township, was approved by the Board of Trustees in an effort to develop green infrastructure-related projects at Normandy Park. That application was due by March 29.

The SEMCOG grant is funded through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, and if accepted, would provide numerous improvements to the park during the 2020 fiscal year, including the reduction of pervious areas on site; the installation of a bioretention basin; and a butterfly garden.

More specifically, Bednar said the parking lot and pathway at Normandy required fixing. The pathway would be reduced from complete asphalt to more of a crushed stone substance, while the butterfly garden would provide an area for pollination. Asphalt would remain up to the pavilion.

She said a resident spoke with her about one year ago, praising officials for providing amenities like benches, trash cans and flowers. But residents want more.

“They said it’s a beautiful park, but it’s just green grass,” Bednar said, adding that such investments only reduce the carbon footprint.

Clerk Kim Meltzer praised the board for approving three grants in one meeting.

“I can’t thank our departments enough, especially Mary, for their proactive work on making sure they put Clinton Township in the forefront of seeking these types of grants and opportunities to pay for these projects,” Meltzer said.

Resident Kathy Voss, who lives near Normandy Park, said individuals and families in the area have benefited from the park’s cleanliness and improved features over the years.

“I appreciate this so much,” Voss said. “It’s a beautiful park as it is, but what you all have proposed and agreed upon is just phenomenal. We thank you very much for that.”