By LISA M. REED
QUINNESEC - The Breitung Township Board of Trustees and Coleman Engineering on Monday discussed improvements to the boat launch at Badwater Reservoir.
Kevin Trevillian of Coleman Engineering said the cost of the improvements would be $397,380.
He said the thinking is the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Trust Fund Grant application date is April 1 for funding this year, and construction could begin later next year or in 2014.
The unimproved boat launch facility is currently located just off County Road 607 in Breitung Township.
Trevillian said improvements would include a paved asphalt roadway, a concrete boat dock and 18 parking stalls. The parking area would be located on the opposite side of County Road 607 as the launch. Boat wash stations and electrical service would be in future plans.
The project was previously discussed with the board in early 2012 and was placed into the township's five-year plan.
Vehicles currently park on both sides of County Road 607 after launching boats.
Bob Werner, Breitung Township resident and member of the Dickinson County Planning Commission, said a concern from WeEnergies regarding this project was safety.
"I live up there, and I am surprised no one has been killed there, and it's a miracle there have been no accidents," Werner said.
The MDNR trust fund grant application requires a 25 percent local match.
Trustee Mary Beth Dixon said the board never supported the local match.
"We were told only maintenance," she said.
Trustee Ben Peterson commented that improving the boat launch at its current location could be opening a can of worms. He would prefer to see the parking lot located on the same side as the Badwater Reservoir, and asked if an area closer to the dam could be used as a possible site.
It was noted that the problem with that is some larger pontoon boats can't go under the Twin Falls bridge, which was recently nominated to the National Historic Register for Michigan and Wisconsin.
"I am more worried about kids going to get flippers from the truck," said Peterson, who said he has launched his boat into Badwater.
It was also noted it would be impossible for the state to lower the speed limit on County Road 607 to 25 mph.
Trevillian said as a Breitung Township resident, he is happy to help with this project.
"If the board has an interest in this project, we can work together and try to pick a site," he said.
Werner added there is a non-motorized transportation and bike path near the lake, which is also used for canoeing and kayaking.
No action was taken on the issue.
In other action, the board:
- Approved $48,775 for a software upgrade for the township offices. The software, which was a budgeted for $39,000, will be installed by July or August. Six percent will be deducted from the cost of the software with a one time payment, and there are no fees for support and software updates for one year after installation.
- Approved the cost of the annual firefighters banquet not to exceed $1,200. Volunteer firefighters will attend the banquet on April 6 at 6 p.m. at Pine Grove Country Club.
- Approved purchasing 40 three-season Carhardt-type jackets for the volunteer firefighters from Getz's Clothing Store in Marquette at $100 each.
This was a non-budgeted item, but the board's way to show appreciation for the volunteer firefighters. The jackets will have the fire department name and logo on them. They should be available in time for the banquet.
Lisa M. Reed's e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.