Harrison Township CDBG funds to benefit Union Lake Road sidewalk

By: Julie Snyder | Mount Clemens - Clinton - Harrison Journal | Published March 1, 2019

 The Harrison Township Board of Trustees approved allocating more than $82,000 in Community Development Block Grant funds for a sidewalk project on Union Lake Road and toward supporting the Dial-A-Ride program.

The Harrison Township Board of Trustees approved allocating more than $82,000 in Community Development Block Grant funds for a sidewalk project on Union Lake Road and toward supporting the Dial-A-Ride program.

File photo by Julie Snyder

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HARRISON TOWNSHIP — The Harrison Township Board of Trustees has earmarked a majority of its more than $82,000 in federal Community Development Block Grant funds toward a sidewalk project along Union Lake Road.

Township Clerk Adam Wit said the township this year has received $82,894 in CDBG funds. Of that amount, $17,474 must be allocated to public service programs, while the remaining $65,420 can be spent on the sidewalk project, which has a long-term goal of providing safe access to the 16 Mile Road bike trail.

“We are currently working with Macomb County, and they have identified an area for each parcel,” Wit said. “Many of these will require right of way acquisition, which has not been figured into the costs.”

The funds come from the Macomb Urban County Program.

Wit said the first few areas at the north end and the last five or six at the south end can accommodate sidewalks within the rights of way, which would be easier and less expensive. He added that the project will start when the weather breaks, likely in the spring.

Wit also recommended that the total $17,474 in public service funds be apportioned to the Dial-A-Ride shuttle service, which offers low-cost transportation services to the elderly and the handicapped for doctor’s visits, shopping and work. He said any decrease in that amount would result in general fund money covering the shortfall.

As required by the Housing and Community Development Act of 1974, the township accepted applications from organizations and people requesting a piece of the CDBG pie.

Among those was Care House, a Mount Clemens-based nonprofit organization that provides services and support to children and families who have suffered from sexual or physical abuse.

Nikki Pitman, a forensic interviewer at Care House, requested $3,000 in public service funds.

“We collaborate with all law enforcement jurisdictions in Macomb County, as well as the FBI, (the Department of) Homeland Security, and (the U.S.) Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Child Protective Services, the Macomb County Prosecutor’s Office, medical and mental health professionals, and other child welfare agencies as determined by the case,” Pitman said.

“Over 1 million children in this country suffer from abuse and neglect each year,” Pitman continued, referring to Care House’s collected statistics. “More children suffer from the trauma of sexual abuse than asthma and autism combined.”

She said that in 1996, Care House conducted 7,000 child forensic interviews, 155 of those with children residing in Harrison Township. In 2017, it conducted 605 forensic interviews, and 11 of the children were from Harrison Township. In 2018, it was 753 forensic interviews, and 15 of the children were from Harrison Township.

“We provide a voice for child victims,” Pitman said.

Jac Ewasyshyn, of Turning Point in Mount Clemens, spoke to the group’s request for $1,000.

Turning Point, founded 40 years ago, offers free shelter to victims of domestic violence, as well as legal advocacy and counseling for both children and adults. She said the funding would assist in supporting shelter services for Harrison Township residents in need.

Ewasyshyn said Turning Point served 561 people in the past year, including men suffering from physical abuse. The men are housed separately.

In 2018, the nonprofit organization took 12,000 crisis calls, served 59 residents of Harrison Township and provided 49 nights in its shelter for those from the township, which cost approximately $1,225.

In the end, the funding went to the Dial-A-Ride program, with consideration assured for the other applicants for future CDBG funds. The board voted unanimously on the allocations.

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