Clinton Township trustees talk about Gratiot Cruise plans, changes

By: Dean Vaglia | C&G Newspapers | Published July 24, 2023

CLINTON TOWNSHIP — As the annual Gratiot Cruise nears, the Clinton Township Board of Trustees spent significant time discussing the event at its July 10 meeting.

Discussion on the matter began with the Recreation Department asking for $10,000 to support the police, fire and recreation staff working the event and to support the family fun zone. The department used to have a budget for the event, though over the years it was removed because the Gratiot Cruise Committee reimbursed the township for services rendered for the event.

Trustees approved the line-item request.

“I am in support of this because I think this is a much more transparent way to do it than what we’ve done in the past,” Trustee Mike Keys said.

Aside from the line-item approval, trustees and township officials discussed other changes to the coming cruise.

“We have the construction going on; we appreciate MDOT and all of their work making Gratiot more drivable, but we’re reduced to two lanes so no parade this year at the start of it,” Township Treasurer Paul Gieleghem said. “The family fun zone is moving from the 15 Mile Road regional shopping plaza over to the 16 Mile McLaren Building.”

Gieleghem expressed concern over the parking complications that would come from the family fun zone being moved, to which Brian Kay, Clinton Township recreation director, said they would need the full cooperation of local businesses and public spaces “as per usual but even more so now.”

Keys expressed dissatisfaction with the family fun zone being moved to the other side of the street, therefore making it harder for residents to access. A shuttle to the relocated fun zone was discussed but trustees determined it was too late to do anything about.

Mary Bednar, the township’s public services director, told the board there would be no road closures due to the parade being canceled, aside from Gratiot being reduced to two lanes. The inside lanes are expected to be open while the outer lanes are expected to be closed.

Many of the changes for 2023 are expected to revert back to normal once the construction ends.

“Our goal is to get it back to where it was, next year,” Supervisor Robert Cannon said about the fun zone’s move. “This year we can’t do it for safety.”

The Gratiot Cruise is not the only event facing changes this year. The Quinn Road Reunion organizers canceled the event this year due to the soil work at Prince Drewry Park and being unable to secure a replacement location. The event is planned to return in 2024.


Public safety purchases
The board also approved several purchases for the fire and police departments.

The Clinton Township Fire Department purchased 110 new SCBA air cylinders and associated equipment for about $420,000 from West Shore Fire in Allendale. The provider did not have the lowest bid, but fire officials determined a buy-one-get-one-free sale on cylinders would allow the department to buy more. New extraction equipment was bought for about $143,000; a new generator for Station No. 2 was bought for a net cost of about $40,400 after trading in the old generator; and a new sauna and cooling tubs are being bought for $6,000 with help from the local firefighters’ union.

Trustees also approved the expenditure of $80,000 on three special investigation vehicles for the Clinton Township Police Department. The three cars were purchased on the used market and not subject to the usual bid and purchasing process.

The board also accepted invoices from Chippewa Valley schools for $44,550 in crossing guard reimbursements, which the township will pay back to the school district. Clintondale Community Schools did not submit any crossing guard bills for the township to reimburse.