The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Wakefield Township votes to leave Western Gateway Trail Authority


Richard Jenkins/Daily Globe photo

Wakefield Township left the Western Gateway Trail Authority this week, feeling the trail, seen being constructed in a July file photo, only benefits Ironwood and Bessemer.

WAKEFIELD TOWNSHIP - Wakefield Township Supervisor John Cox informed the Daily Globe the town board on Tuesday voted to leave the Western Gateway Trail Authority.

He said the move was made because the township does not include any part of the trail.

Cox said township officials brought up the fact there is no funding mechanism for trail maintenance and that is a sticking point made repeatedly.

Township officials feel there is no reason for them to pay for Ironwood and Bessemer's trail, when they do not have any part of it.

According to Cox, the township partners with Wakefield's Parks Department and residents use the Sunday Lake Trail and the Porcupine Mountain Park and are very happy with both of them.

Cox said the township wants to focus on motorized trails in the future. As an example of the boost motorized trails can bring to the township, Cox referenced the increased business Indianhead Mountain Resort is getting since the trail was moved to encompass the resort. That kind of an increase can be experienced throughout the township through more trail development and better maintenance, he said.

In other business:

-The state auditor came to the meeting to explain how the assessment is progressing.

-The planning commission decided it will write the township's own master plan over the next year. The commission wants to ensure the 179 square miles the township claims is maximized. That land could hold a new casino and a mine at the north end of the county.

One of the focus areas for the master plan will be zoning, as the commission wants the document to remain relatively simple, yet complete enough to accomplish the necessary actions for business.

The board agreed to make the 2017-18 budget the focus of the March 7 meeting. As the township is coming close to exceeding last year's budget in some areas, the board wants to make sure the next budget addresses all the members' concerns and stays within revenues.

The board approved hiring Melissa Prisbe as Level II assessor for the township. Prisbe has experience with the township, so the board felt good bringing her back.

The township board voted to repeal its existing marijuana ordinance.

Under the existing ordinance, medical marijuana dispensaries were limited to the industrial zone and with the passage of the new law, the township's lawyer advised the board this could open them up to a lawsuit. Since the township did not support the inclusion of medical marijuana business in the township, by repealing the ordinance, Wakefield Township is closed to the medical marijuana business.

Private card holders are still able to use marijuana.


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