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 Clinton Township Supervisor Bob Cannon delivers his 20th annual State of the Township address at the Clinton-Macomb Main Public Library Main Branch Jan. 31.

Clinton Township Supervisor Bob Cannon delivers his 20th annual State of the Township address at the Clinton-Macomb Main Public Library Main Branch Jan. 31.

Photo by Deb Jacques

Clinton Township supervisor touts ‘passion and dedication’ in annual address

By: Nick Mordowanec | Fraser - Clinton Township Chronicle | Published February 3, 2020

 Dozens of attendees listen to Cannon’s presentation, including Macomb County Treasurer Larry Rocca.

Dozens of attendees listen to Cannon’s presentation, including Macomb County Treasurer Larry Rocca.

Photo by Deb Jacques


CLINTON TOWNSHIP — In his annual State of the Township address Jan. 31 at the Clinton-Macomb Public Library Main Branch, Clinton Township Supervisor Bob Cannon gave credence to the people who impact the community “with their vision, commitment and passion.”

That includes Marylyn Wittstock, who over a decade ago led a fundraising campaign to construct Norm Hott Challenger Field at Neil Reid Park — allowing youngsters with physical and cognitive disabilities to play ball. Now, plans are being developed to do the same for adults at the same park.

Cannon said Wittstock currently has raised about 25% of the $170,000 required, with a goal to break ground in 2021 or sooner, depending on “if the right donor steps to the plate.”

“To me, the fact that plans are underway for a second Challenger Field is at the very heart of what makes Clinton Township a great place to live and raise a family,” he said.

He touted local sponsors such as First State Bank, which not only helps fund the annual Clinton Township Blood Drive and The Wall That Heals, but will also donate $30,000 to five local nonprofits as part of “Banks-giving.” The wall will return this summer for the third time in 10 years.

Cannon talked about how Clinton-Macomb Public Library Director Larry Neal has been instrumental over his 20-year career, from establishing the South Branch to building a new branch in Macomb Township.

He mentioned state Sen. Paul Wojno, who introduced a bill package to allow library staffers to administer Narcan without liability to those suffering from a potential opioid overdose.

Dennis Liegghio developed the organization Know Resolve following the suicide of his father when Dennis was just 14 years old. The nonprofit, which holds its annual fundraiser in Clinton Township, promotes mental health and youth suicide prevention via outreach, advocacy and education.

“I am so proud of Dennis and his organization because so often, we avoid talking about suicide because it’s an uncomfortable subject, often considered taboo,” Cannon said. “Dennis and Know Resolve are lifting the veil on the issue of suicide and are saving lives of some who are quietly suffering.”

Praise was also heaped on those who helped donate five new LUCAS chest compression devices to the Clinton Township Fire Department, which in 2019 completed an all-time high of 13,886 runs. Machines were purchased by residents, Clinton Township Kiwanis Club members, the Clinton Township Board of Trustees, and a variety of other local sources.

Bringing a K-9 back to the township — Bice — has given the Police Department a new sense of vigor.

Another point of pride has been the Clinton Township Arboretum on 18 Mile Road, and in turn the Friends of the Arboretum — composed of dedicated members who selflessly tire to maintain and develop environmental causes for everyone.

Dan Lepo, coordinator of the Friends of the Arboretum, was described by Cannon as having “boundless energy and passion for what he does.” They are attributes shared by the numerous other volunteers.

In 2018, Lepo was honored by the township as “Volunteer of the Year.”

“As the coordinator and leader of the group, Dan not only demonstrates his love of trees and nature, he also enjoys teaching others the finer points of native species and habitat. … The flowers, shrubs, trees and animals that call the Tomlinson Arboretum home thank Dan by the way they flourish under his care,” Cannon said.

The township’s financial standing is “solid,” Cannon said, and its auditors at Plante Moran gave the highest possible financial opinion. He said quality of life issues and housing opportunities, along with senior and recreation programs and strong public safety, give people reason to move to and live in Clinton Township.

Moving forward, the township is continuing with its strategic plan and reassessment of Groesbeck Highway.

He announced five main priorities as part of the strategic plan: pursuing funding, education and a communication campaign for roadway support; creating an economic development strategy with financial incentives to strengthen commercial corridors; creating a river trail system that involves grant acquisition and addressing cleanup efforts; developing and implementing non-motorized transportation; and creating a marketing and communication campaign.

That includes the construction this year of a hike and bike path over the Clinton River on the Cass Avenue Bridge; completing local road projects on Garfield, 15 Mile and Kelly roads; and hopefully designating the main branch of the Clinton River as an official State Water Trail — which would be the ninth such designation in Michigan.

Future pathways are in the works, such as connecting George George Park to the Freedom Trail, and George George Park to the Spillway pathway, via Harrington Road.

A recently awarded grant will construct another kayak launch at Woodrow Woody Park this year.

“With the return of wildlife and recreational activity that you now see on the river, you get the feeling that you’re in one of our northern Michigan recreation areas,” Cannon said. “We should always be aware of the need to maintain and protect our environment and recognize all the efforts to restore and maintain a healthy and vibrant Clinton River.”

Cannon, in conclusion, said “passion and dedication” are two ideals that define Clinton Township.

“I have given you several examples of people who are committed to what they do … people who are dedicated, and whose purpose is to serve others, passionately,” he said. “And there are many more just like them who are a big part of our community.

“Passion helps us achieve whatever we put our minds to. It helps us to get things done. I see people in Clinton Township demonstrate this every day. It’s what I love most about the place that we call home.”