Planning Commission to send recreation plan to township board


Alissa Pietila/Daily Globe

JEAN VERBOS, left, township Supervisor Jeff Randall and Project Engineer, Phil Strong, of Coleman Engineering, look over the final draft of the five-year recreation plan at Tuesday's planning commision meeting.

RAMSAY - The only item on the agenda for Bessemer Township's Planning Commission on Tuesday was an update on the Five-Year Recreation Plan.

Phil Strong, a project engineer for Coleman Engineering, updated the commission on the project.

"We just had the public review period, from. Jan. 20 to Feb. 20 ... and in that time it was advertised in the newspaper, the (Daily) Globe and the (Wakefield News) Bessemer Pick & Axe, and it was on the website," Strong said. "Unfortunately, there were zero public review comments."

Walter Rickard, planning commission chairman, said a couple people asked him what the plan was about.

"I told them it was a wish list," he said. "It's something we have to do to get it ready for the DNR."

"For the recreation plan, we put a lot of work into prioritizing, picking projects, planning for what we want this park to look like when it's complete," said Jean Verbos. "And the saddest thing about this whole deal is we go through all this work, time and effort and no one bothers to comment."

She said many people will only likely comment once work actually begins in the park.

The next step is to hold a public hearing about the plan.

"It must be adopted by the highest unit of government, which is the township board, so there will be a public hearing and a resolution at the next township board meeting on (March) 23," Strong said.

In a motion by Verbos, with support from Bob Berg, the commission decided to send the draft plan to the township board for the public hearing and adoption.

"After the township board's meeting ... we'll need to get the meeting minutes from that meeting and then everything will get loaded onto the DNR's website," Strong said. "It's call Mi Rec Grants and it's pretty slick. You just upload all your information onto the website and hit submit."

After that, a DNR coordinator will review it. Strong said it usually takes at least 30 days for the DNR review period, but could take longer as it's grant application season.

"Once the recreation plan is complete, it will distributed to the county planning agency and the regional planning agency," Strong said. The regional agency is the Western Upper Peninsula Planning and Development Region, and Strong said it's basically just for their information.

"If there's any problems through the public hearing or a lot of questions or a lot of concerns that can't be answered, the township board could send the draft plan back here for review and rework, if necessary," said township supervisor Jeff Randall. "Beyond that, I don't see any problems."

The first project is planned for April 1, 2016, Strong said.

Randall also mentioned that Velda Scalfini, who helped gather volunteers to clean up the park last year, hopes to start again this spring.

"They have taken a vacation over winter, but they have done a lot work in the park as far as cleaning the brush out of the park," Randall said. "They are also looking at other things around Ramsay to address, clean up, improve ... and they sound like they are going to start up again as spring comes."


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